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From Classic to Modern:
Revisting the Figure in the Permanent Collection

August 1, 2001 – September 30, 2001

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When the museum opened in 1976 the collection numbered just 250 works. Today, the collection has grown to over 2000 objects in varying media including painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, and installations. It is one of the most comprehensive collections of Latin American and Caribbean art in the United States. Some highlights from the collection include works by Amelia Pelaez, Joaquin Torres Garcia, Emilio Pettoruti, Candido Portinari, Roberto Matta, Pedro Figari, Alejandro Obregon, Fernando de Szyszlo, Maria Luisa Pacheco, and Jesus Soto. This exhibit from the collection focuses on the human figure and (on the second floor) includes a sampling of some of the museum’s most recent acquisitions.

The last century has seen a progressive evolution throughout South and Central America in how the human figure is portrayed. In Colombia, Fernando Botero set about reducing the values and institutions of bourgeois society, portraying its members as overstuffed giants. Also in Colombia, Alejandro Obregon produced compositions of exuberant color with fragmented but structurally articulate human forms. In Venezuela, Jesus Soto provided the dynamic of movement in his “kinetic” works. Meanwhile, Cuban Amelia Pelaez reinvented ambient reality, recalling the architectural moldings and stained glass windows of old Havana in her work.