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MoMA's International Program Presents Initiatives Involving Latin American Art and Artists in 2009

NEW YORK, NY.- In the coming year, the International Program will launch a series of projects focusing on Latin America that will expand the Museum’s engagement with the visual arts of Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela.

MoMA’s International Program, established in 1952, builds and maintains relationships between the Museum and a diverse network of modern and contemporary art communities across the globe. Through a series of international programs and publications, the department fosters learning, critical discourse and exchange on international models of museological, curatorial and artistic best practices.

International Museum Education Institute
In July 2009, MoMA’s Education Department and International Program will organize the Museum’s first International Museum Education Institute, which will bring to New York the directors and educators of eight Mexican museums of modern and contemporary art for discussions with staff members at MoMA. The institute will focus on key aspects of museum education practice, including gallery interpretation, public programs, the production of didactic materials, funding-related issues, and program planning and implementation. Participants in the institute will consider the complementary and critical roles that curators and museum educators play in interpreting works of art and engaging the public in their own learning process. They will explore how qualitative research and evaluation can lead to greater understanding of these processes and visitor needs and reflect upon how this practice can inform all aspects of the exhibition interpretation, programming and training of those dealing directly with visitors. The program will also address the changing learning needs of a new generation of digital natives.

Seminars, individual presentations, and opportunities for participants to observe MoMA education programs will provide the forums to discuss and debate these issues. The Institute will include a public program focusing on contemporary Mexican art, with details to be announced.

Spanish Language Edition: Alfredo Boulton and His Contemporaries: Critical Dialogues in Venezuelan Art 1912-1974
MoMA’s International Program published in spring 2008 a documentary anthology entitled Alfredo Boulton and His Contemporaries: Critical Dialogues in Venezuelan Art 1912-1974. In fall of 2009, with generous support from the Fundación Cisneros, the book will be reissued in the original Spanish.

An art critic, cultural historian, and photographer, Alfredo Boulton (1908–1995) was one of Venezuela’s most influential cultural and aesthetic observers in the twentieth century and a highly significant figure in the development of modernist art and discourse in his country. His diverse contributions to Venezuelan art history serve as points of departure in this anthology of manifestos, correspondence, and critical writings by notable intellectuals of the period, including critics Mariano Picón-Salas, Angel Rama, and Marta Traba; architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva; and artists Jesús Rafael Soto, Alejandro Otero, and Gego.

This anthology of writings by figures whose works and ideas shaped the face of contemporary Venezuela traces the country’s struggle toward modernity and an autonomous identity on the international cultural scene. Accompanying the historical texts are newly written critical and explanatory essays by editor Ariel Jiménez and eight other scholars: Hugo Achugar, Rafael Castillo Zapata, Roldán Esteva-Grillet, Marco Negrón, Luis Pérez Oramas, Sandra Pinardi, Elías Pino Iturrieta, and Macía Pintó.

Primary Documents: Brazil (Mario Pedrosa)
MoMA is currently producing a documentary anthology that will present in English translation the writings of Mário Pedrosa (1900-1981), the most influential art critic in the history of Brazilian culture. Paulo Herkenhoff, curator of the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo and former director of the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, and Vera Pedrosa, the daughter of the critic and former Brazilian ambassador to France, will edit the book.

Pedrosa’s writings covered almost all the significant artistic movements in twentieth-century Brazil, from the first manifestation of modern art, to modernism, abstract art (including his support of the neoconcrete group that consisted of Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Pape and others) and the generation of the l960s and l970s. Pedrosa led Brazilian art criticism away from a nationalist modernism toward a search for autonomy of language. Although Pedrosa is frequently quoted in art historical and critical literature on Brazilian and Latin American art, this will be the first significant translation of his writings to appear in English.

This book will take its place in the International Program’s series of anthologies of primary source materials on modern and contemporary art, which began with Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art since the 1950s. It will be the third publication in the series to focus on Latin America, joining, Listen Here Now! Argentine Art in the 1960s: Writings of the Avant-Garde and Alfredo Boulton and His Contemporaries: Critical Dialogues in Venezuelan Art 1912-1974.

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