Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) opens Modern and Contemporary Masterworks from Malba – Fundacion Costantini exhibition

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) presents Modern and Contemporary Masterworks from Malba – Fundacion Costantini, on view April 22–August 5, 2012, an exclusive loan exhibition from one of Latin America’s most important arts and cultural institutions: el Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires), known as “Malba.” The exhibition features 39 masterworks by some of the region’s best-known artists, including Tarsila do Amaral, Frida Kahlo, Wifredo Lam and Diego Rivera, as well as landmark figures new to U.S. audiences.

Diego Rivera, (Mexican, 1886-1957), Portrait of Ramón Gómez de la Serna, 1915. Oil on canvas. Malba–Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires© 2012 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Modern and Contemporary Masterworks from Malba – Fundación Costantini is part of an ongoing artistic exchange between the MFAH and Malba, a partnership formed in 2005. Founded by collector Eduardo F. Costantini in 2001, Malba is the only museum in South America dedicated to collecting and exhibiting Latin American art from 1900 to the present. The upcoming Houston exhibition, curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez, MFAH Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the MFAH International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), will feature artists well known in South America’s Southern Cone but new to many North American audiences. Rafael Barradas, Antonio Berni, Alfredo Guttero, Emilio Pettoruti and Jorge de la Vega are among the artists included. The exhibition will be accompanied by a lecture program and a major catalogue featuring an interview with Costantini by Ramírez; text by Marcelo Pacheco, Chief Curator of Malba; scholarly analyses by Pacheco, Edward Sullivan, Patricia Artundo, Llilian Llanes and others of each of the works featured in the exhibition.
“This is a unique chance to see ‘textbook examples’ of major Latin American masterpieces here in the U.S.,” said MFAH Director Gary Tinterow. “Modern and Contemporary Masterworks from Malba – Fundación Costantini will include works by many of the key avant-garde Latin American artists who pioneered modern art in their respective countries or participated in the principal European movements.”
“Displaying Latin American masterpieces from Malba furthers the goal of the MFAH to recognize the original contributions of Latin American artists to Modernism, and to expose the public to this legacy,” said Mari Carmen Ramírez, the MFAH curator. “Many in the U.S. are familiar with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera—and the exhibition will feature excellent examples from both—but we also invite people to discover and explore other significant Latin American movements such as Antropofagia, Vibracionismo, Surrealismo and Otra figuración through the important examples that will be on view here in Houston. This is a great opportunity to see in the U.S. what visitors would otherwise need to travel to Buenos Aires to experience.”
“A great collection is of little use without social purpose and education, and the presence of Malba in the United States reinforces our commitment to the dissemination and promotion of Latin American art in the world,” said Malba founder Eduardo F. Costantini. “This exhibition includes the most important body of work from the permanent collection of Malba. The absence of such a group of works in our museum is justified only by the importance of spreading the word about Latin American art in the U.S., and the undisputed prestige of the MFAH and the close relationship that unites us.”

About the MFAH
Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 64,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. –

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