Terence Gower: The Good Neighbour

By Luisa Leme

The Canadian artist and curator Aimé Lukin discuss Gower's work focusing on Mexican modernism and muralism.

The exhibition Terence Gower: The Good Neighbour, on view at Americas Society, presents a retrospective of the artist's work on Mexico, analyzing the history of modernity in the country through private and public architecture projects. 

In this video, Gower shares his first impressions of Mexico when he arrived in the 1990s, explaining what fascinated him about the country's efforts to achieve modernity in architecture as a national policy starting in the 1920s and 1930s. Describing his work focused on Mexico City's Tlatelolco housing project, which was built in the 1960s, he says his work diverts from history's focus on the failures of the large modern projects: "I'm always focusing on what kind of problems they solved. The piece is kind of an homage to that kind of audacity."

In addition, in the exhibition, Gower created an installation built around his research on  1970 exhibition David Alfaro Siqueiros: Paintings 1935-1967 at the Center for Inter-American Relations (now Americas Society).

AS Visual Arts director and curator of the show, Aimé Iglesias Lukin, explains Gower was part of a generation of art produced in the 1990s in Mexico that was the first to gain international status since the muralists. For her, Gower is a key example of inter-American relations, with a view of a foreigner but also "a cultural diplomat who is actually subverting the rules of diplomacy to critique the established logic of institutions and the history of Mexican, Canadian, or U.S. cultures." 

Learn more about Terence Gower: The Good Neighbour, on view at Americas Society through July 17, 2021.

Video: Luisa Leme
Still photography: Alexander Perrelli, Natalia Viera Salgado
Soundtrack: Music of the Americas