“Un hombre alado extraña la tierra” Soda Stereo
Tropicult was built upon an obsession of sorts with Miami, the arts, and culture. What you probably don’t know is that my obsession for cultural enlightenment is deeply rooted in South America.
This summer, I returned to my native land and caught a couple of dope exhibitions including a showcase of Argentinean geometric art at MACBA and Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinite Obsession” at MALBA.
CDB | Tale of Two Centuries
Casa Del Bicentenario (CDB), or National Bicentennial House, located in two-symmetrical buildings was originally built in 1913 in Buenos Aires. It has four levels specially designed for conducting exhibitions, educational workshops, conferences, seminars, film, music, poetry. The ground floor houses the permanent exhibition and the courtyard conceived as a living space of the house where they perform screenings and live performances. I visited this spot with my, not so little anymore cousin, MG who was asked to attend as part of her curriculum at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). She’s studying Audio & Visual Engineering and the top two floors of the space are being used to showcase student work.
A Tale of Two Centuries, was the other exhibition I caught at Casa Del Bicentenario. This was particularly interesting to me since it tells the story of labor in Argentina through documents, audiovisual elements, photographs, installations, and works by fifty artists from Argentina. The exhibit puts into focus labor, not only as an occupation but also as a set of rights that guarantee the production of life in public and private aspect. The exhibit also follows developments Argentine political history. Since I’m not here to make political commentary, I’ll leave it at that.
MACBA | Argentine Geometry
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires (MACBA) focuses on Argentine geometry. The show presents to the public emblematic works from the museum’s collection divided into two temporary sections, key to geometric art in the country.
Geometry has been prominent in Argentinean art since the beginning of the last century. The collection of Argentinean geometric art exhibited in MACBA shows this with historic pieces by artists such as Ary Brizzi, Enio Iommi, Victor Magariños, María Martorell and Alejandro Puente are installed as the predecessors of contemporary works from Gabriela Böer, Fabián Burgos, Graciela Hasper and Guillermo Kuitca.
The proposed route starts with neo-abstraction of the 60s. The “theories of shape” spread back then gave birth to optical art which tested the spectator’s perception and converted him or her into an active participant, co-creator of the art piece. Artists experimented with new materials derived from industry, creating an unbreakable bond between art and technology.
Kazuya Sakai “The Spirit Of Music”
Very fitting and complimentary to their permanent collection was Kazuya Sakai’s “The Spirit of Music,” also on exhibit during my visit to the MACBA.
La Fundación PROA
Unfortunately, the PROA exhibition was being installed during my visit and although I wasn’t able to see it I did get to tour the building which was amazing! Installed in 1996 on a recycled house in the late nineteenth century, in the neighborhood of La Boca. In 2008, PROA opened a new three-story building, which has four exhibition halls, a multimedia auditorium, a library, a specialized a restaurant with a gorgeous terrace, plenty of open spaces and a transparent facade to communicate experiences from the inside to the neighborhood.
Their programming, focusing on the dissemination of the great artistic movements of the twentieth century, includes a variety of current proposals as photography, video, design, electronic music, plus the implementation of special projects. Bummer I couldn’t see one this visit but hey, there’s always next time.
MALBA | Yayoi Kusama “Obsesión Infinita”
Photography By Franco Caligiuri Paolino
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), is a not-for-profit institution that constantly updates art and film exhibitions and develops cultural activities. Organized by Malba – Fundación Costantini in collaboration with the study of the artist, the museum offers a comprehensive tour of more than 100 works created between 1950 and 2013, including paintings, works on paper, sculptures, videos, slideshows and facilities.
MALBA focuses on 20th century Latin American art, with a unique collection that includes the principal tendencies and movements that characterize the region’s art in all its mediums, bringing together paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings, collages, photographs, installations and artists’ objects from Mexico and the Caribbean to Argentina. My favorite piece of the collection (and one of my favorite artworks of all time) was Marta Minujín’s, “Paying off the Argentine Foreign Debt with Corn, the Latin American Gold” (below). This photo series featured the artist paying Argentina’s debt to Andy Warhol in corn. Classic!
“Obsession Infinite” is the first Latin American retrospective of Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. Organized by Malba – Fundación Costantini, in collaboration with the study of the artist, the exhibition will present a comprehensive tour through more than 100 works created between 1950 and 2013, including paintings, works on paper, sculptures, videos, slideshows, and installations (which I particularly enjoyed).
The exhibition presents the history of this artist who is from the private to the public sphere, from painting to performance, from studio to street. It was without a doubt one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever visited, a memory that will last a lifetime (big thanks to my “Tia Palu” for taking me out there).
Watch: Laundry | Directed by Martin Rietti
Short made in Tokyo, May 2013, on the occasion of the exhibition “Yayoi Kusama: Obsession Infinite.”