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Indepth Arts News:

2000-09-24 until 2001-01-07
Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla
San Diego, CA, USA United States of America

UltraBaroque: Aspects of Post-Latin American Art, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, explores the influence and impact of the Baroque on a broad range of contemporary artistic expressions in the Americas. The exhibition presents a critical reevaluation of the Baroque and its use as an important cultural metaphor in the work of contemporary Latin American artists.

UltraBaroque features sixteen of the most dynamic and innovative young artists working in the Americas today, whose work is well known in their own countries and abroad but, in many cases, not previously seen in the United States. Their artwork encompasses a tremendous diversity of formal endeavors including painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and an array of multi-media works. The artists’ wealth of ideas and attitudes is equally rich, from highly personal concerns to the exploration of the most relevant social and political topics, and from powerful engagements of regional histories and memories to humorous and irreverent critiques of contemporary global culture. The exhibition’s array of themes, diversity of interests, and hybrid media reflect not only contemporary inter-national artistic languages but also the unique interweaving of cultures, races, and languages that characterize the Americas today.

The designation UltraBaroque is in and of itself a new hybrid, created for this exhibition to reference a very contemporary, postmodern, exuberant visual culture with inextricable ties to an historical period, style, and narrative. Fully aware of the problematic history of the Baroque in Latin America, which has been an ongoing concern for over 300 years, UltraBaroque both critiques and recuperates this integral concept, and examines its significance in contemporary life. In the fusion of global villages, economies, and networks that is redefining our future in ways we don’t yet fully understand, the Baroque resurfaces as a model for coming to terms with the challenges presented by this transitional era. The roster of artists in UltraBaroque includes: Miguel Calderón (Mexico), María Fernanda Cardoso (Colombia/Australia), Rochelle Costi (Brazil), Einar and Jamex de la Torre (Mexico/United States), Arturo Duclos (Chile), José Antonio Hernández-Diez (Venezuela/Spain), Yishai Jusidman (Mexico), Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (United States), Lia Menna Barreto (Brazil), Franco Mondini-Ruiz (United States), Rubén Ortiz-Torres (Mexico/United States), Nuno Ramos (Brazil), Valeska Soares (Brazil/United States), Meyer Vaisman (Venezuela/United States/Spain), and Adriana Varejão (Brazil). The exhibition co-curators are Elizabeth Armstrong, MCA Senior Curator, and independent curator Victor Zamudio-Taylor.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum will publish a 212-page fully illustrated, bilingual catalogue that will elaborate on the show’s theme and underlying ideas and offer an interdisciplinary history of art and culture in Latin America. The publication has three major components: individual entries on each of the artists in the exhibition; cross-cultural essays addressing historical precedents and contemporary issues raised by the exhibition; and a “sourcebook” of key texts that constitute UltraBaroque’s artistic, literary, and intellectual heritage. This section of the book features excerpts from historical travel accounts of the colonial period, a selection of aesthetic treatises on Baroque concepts and devices, texts from Baroque and Neo-Baroque poets and writers in Latin America, and recent theories on the legacy of the Baroque in postmodern, contemporary culture. Authors for the publication include Paulo Herkenhoff, Director of the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo and Adjunct Curator at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Serge Gruzinski, Research Director at the Center for Latin American Studies, the University of Paris; Victor Zamudio-Taylor, independent art scholar, critic and co-curator of the exhibition; and Elizabeth Armstrong, MCA Senior Curator.

UltraBaroque: Aspects of Post-Latin American Art will be on view from September 24, 2000 through January 7, 2001. Following its debut in San Diego, UltraBaroque will then travel to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Miami Art Museum; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Miguel Calderón:
Employee of the Month (#1),
1998, C-Print, 79 3/4 X 50 IN.,
Courtesy the artist and
Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York

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