The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830-1930 at Americas Society (through June 30). Fans of Latin American architecture are overly besotted with the modernist era: Luis Barragán’s color-saturated houses in Mexico City, Oscar Niemeyer’s cutting-edge presidential palace in Brasília. But this eye-opening exhibition turns the clock back 100 years and shows how six cities — Buenos Aires; Havana; Lima, Peru; Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro; and Santiago, Chile — used architecture and urban design to express new national ambitions. Vintage photographs disclose how in Mexico’s sprawling capital its new republican government erected statues of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor, while Argentina plowed out lordly avenues in imitation of Haussmann-era Paris. All these cities had keen architectural ambitions, though if you have to pick the most sophisticated, it’s Rio in a landslide. Stare at Marc Ferrez’s jaw-dropping 1895 panoramic photograph of the erstwhile Brazilian capital, with Sugarloaf Mountain looming over Botafogo and Flamengo, and book the next flight.
June 28, 2018