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Thu, Jan 24, 2013
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MACBA and MALBA, Buenos Aires

Image Global Exchange, Geometric Abstraction since 1950, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires (MACBA), Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires (MACBA), a new museum for contemporary art located in the old section of San Telmo. Four concrete spaces, most of them sub-terrainean, connected with a classic Corbusian ramp. It’s not a big gesture but it shows a good ambition. Presently, a surprising exhibition, a precursor to the ambitious show on abstraction at the Grand Palais in Paris this spring (Lumineux! Dynamique! Espace et vision dans l’art de nos jour à 1913). Global Exchange, Geometric Abstraction since 1950 includes a number of Argentine and other lesser reckoned Latin American artists. Curated by Joe Houston. At entrance, Cuban artist Mathilde Perez (CL, 1920) was flanked by works of fairly obscure Italian artist Alberto Biasi (IT, 1937): Dinamica Visiva (1973) and Disegno Opticio Dinamico (1964), of the better known Dadamaino (1930–2004). Then, these works were well lined-up with two strong works by Walter Leblanc (BE, 1932–1986) and Heinz Mack (DE, 1931–). Great optical comparisons, especially with a very powerful work by Víctor Vasarely (HU, 1906–1997) on the adjacent wall. On a lower level, an attempt to promote Argentine’s role in rekindling the post war’s interest in abstract geometry was a little contrived, but nonetheless it yielded some very nice works: Zebeda (1968) by Manuel Espinosa (AR, 1912-2006) and Fénix (1974) by Cesar Paternosto (AR, 1931–). All in all a collection of beautiful gems. The inclusion of contemporary works by Gunther Förg (DE, 1952–) and Sarah Morris (UK, 1967–) didn’t add anything, but was not intrusive either for the works were contained to a separate floor. Earlier, I visited the Museo Arte Latino Buenos Aires (MALBA) and between the two museums there is plenty of proof that there is a lot of interesting art in Buenos Aires. MALBA houses the private Constantini collection—a great collection of Latin-American art. Especially, its collection of concrete and optical art is very strong and includes seminal works by Lygia Clark (BR, 1920–1988) and Hélio Oiticica (BR, 1937–1980). And here, too, some new finds: Martha Boto (AR, 1925–2004) with a wonderful kinetic work Caja Cinético Con Efecto Óptico (1968) and Oscar Bony (AR, 1941-2002) with some very beautiful footage from Submarino Amarillo (1965) and El Paseo (1965); both preludes to the present turmoil around gay tolerance and marriage, but I might be partial there. See Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires (MACBA) and Museo Arte Latino Buenos Aires (MALBA).