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NYT: Latin American Design and Architecture Through the Years

(Photo: Beatriz Messeguer)

March 26, 2015

THE well-worn phrase “Mi casa es tu casa” may be a perfect expression of Latin American warmth and hospitality, but it leaves some basic questions unanswered, especially if you are interested in architecture and design. What kind of house? And what is inside that house?

Three exhibitions, two already underway and a third, “Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980,” opening on Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art, aim to address those issues. Though organized separately and somewhat different in focus, they collectively provide a comprehensive picture of trends in Latin American architecture and design since World War II while suggesting a pattern of regionwide innovation that did not receive full recognition while it was occurring.

“The main verb here is ‘recalibrate,’ ” said Barry Bergdoll, the chief curator of the MoMA exhibition, which will run through July 19. In common with the other two shows, which focus more on design, its goal is to challenge orthodoxy and, he said, make “a big polemical point, showing Latin America as a center of experimentation and originality, with as many ideas going out as coming in.”

In one way or another, each of the shows refracts off a 1955 MoMA show that looked at the past decade of Latin American architecture. At the Americas Society, an exhibition of furniture, ceramics, glassware and other objects called “Moderno: Design for Living in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela,” which runs through May 16, covers 1940 to 1978, while the Museum of Arts and Design focuses on the past 25 years in “New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America,” which closes on April 5....

Read the full art review here.