Latin American design makes history

Latin American design makes history

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York presents the first major exhibition on Latin American design, titled “Crafting modernity: design in Latin America 1940-1980.”

After a year and eight months of research and trips to Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and Brazil, and through 110 objects on display —among which there are pieces by Mexicans such as Mathias Goeritz, Hugo Velázquez, Pedro Leites and Graziella Díaz de León—, curators Ana Elena Mallet and Amanda Forment tell the story of how design became professional in a region that sought to move closer to modernity and industrialization.

Regarding why MoMA has so far dedicated an exhibition to Latin American design, despite its historical interest in design in general and Latin American architecture, Mallet believes that it has been the work of Latin American researchers on the subject that has given it greater visibility. to the work of the region in recent years, so it was “imminent” that it would arrive at this museum, one of the most prestigious internationally. The research presented in this exhibition is one that does not exist in books in English or Spanish, says Mallet.

“There are very nationalist and fragmented stories. We travel through Latin America and there is a lot of research, but it is done within academic or market centers and in small circles that do not circulate beyond their national territories, so this is a great opportunity to gather a professional curatorial council with people from the territory. and try to understand all this bibliography. There was an opportunity to weave fine and be able to put all of this on one platform and say this is what is happening,” she explains.

The exhibition starts from the perspective of the domestic, so it was essential for the curators to see the objects within their historical context, such as the homes of designers, architects and artists. “If we stayed only with the archive or in a text, we only saw a third of the history (of the pieces) and for us it was very important to see the entire panorama of these objects in context, which is sometimes very difficult to bring this idea (from the domestic) to a gallery, but that's why we compensate with image projections,” adds Forment.