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Pablo León de la Barra appointed Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America
Pablo León de la Barra. Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America. Photo: Kristopher McKay© Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, today announced that distinguished independent curator Pablo León de la Barra has been selected as Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America. He is the second curator to have been chosen to participate in the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, an ambitious collaboration between the Guggenheim Museum and UBS that was launched last year.

Through the Initiative, the Guggenheim is engaged in a multi-year effort to identify and support a network of artists and curators from three major regions—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa—in a comprehensive program involving curatorial residencies, acquisitions for the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, international touring exhibitions, and extensive educational and online activities.

Pablo León de la Barra will undertake a two-year residency in New York, where he will work with the Guggenheim’s curatorial staff to identify recent artworks by artists of Latin American origin that reflect some of the region’s most significant contemporary cultural practices and ideas. Artworks chosen by León de la Barra will enter the collection and form the basis of an exhibition planned to open at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 2014 before traveling to two international venues.

León de la Barra was nominated by a committee of five esteemed experts on this region: Magalí Arriola, Curator, Fundación Jumex, Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico; José Falconi, Fellow, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University; Gabriela Rangel, Director of Visual Arts and Chief Curator, Americas Society, New York; Ana Sokoloff, art advisor, New York; and Yolanda Wood Pujols, Director, Center for Caribbean Studies, Casa de las Américas, Havana.

"The Guggenheim is committed to presenting contemporary art from around the world, and with Guggenheim UBS MAP we are able to carry out this commitment more extensively than ever before," Richard Armstrong stated. "Following the success of the first phase of the program in South and Southeast Asia, we look forward to welcoming Pablo León de la Barra to the Guggenheim. His experience with contemporary art and artists from Latin America, and in generating new ways of thinking about contemporary art practices, make him the ideal candidate to be Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America."

Jürg Zeltner, CEO of UBS Wealth Management, stated, "UBS is committed to supporting programs that give our clients and the broader public ways to participate in the art world. One way to demonstrate this commitment is through initiatives that explore new ideas, art forms, and artists. Our collaboration with the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation is an ideal fit with our objectives, and complements very well that which we offer already. It allows us to support the artists and curators themselves, and to foster talent in these regions. Our approach to the art world parallels our business relationships; we aim to be a trusted partner, enabling clients’ confident participation in a provocative and exciting creative community in the same way that we facilitate their involvement in a complex global economy."

"I'm thrilled to be collaborating with Guggenheim and UBS in such an exciting project," stated Pablo León de la Barra, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America. "It is an honor to have the opportunity to learn from such a respected institution, while at the same time sharing the knowledge I have developed after years of research and practice in the region, which will provide for a wider dialogue and understanding of the complexities and distinctiveness of art production in Latin America."

Born in Mexico City in 1972, Pablo León de la Barra earned his Ph.D in Histories and Theories from the Architectural Association, London. He has curated or co-curated more than a dozen exhibitions over the past decade, including The Camino Real Arcades (2012), Proyecto AMIL, Lima, Peru; Novo Museo Tropical, Teorética, San Jose, Costa Rica (2012); Microclimas, Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2012); Marta 'Che' Traba, Museo La Ene, Buenos Aires (co-curated with Beatriz López, 2012); Incidents of Mirror Travel in Yucatan and Elsewhere, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2011); Incidentes de Viaje en Centroamérica, Chiapas, Yucatán y otros lugares [Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, Yucatan and Elsewhere], Centro Cultural de España, Guatemala City (2010), and To Be Political it Has to Look Nice, apexart and Art in General, New York (2003). In London, he was a founding member of 24-7, a collective of artists and curators (2002–05), artistic director of Blow de la Barra Gallery (2005–08), and founder and co-curator of the community art space White Cubicle Gallery (2005–12). He is also the founder of the Novo Museo Tropical, and was the curator of the first Bienal Tropical in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2011). León de la Barra serves on the advisory committees of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, and the Fundación Luis Barragán, Mexico. In 2012, he received the first Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean.

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