“A Tale of Two Worlds”- Pacific Standard Time LA/LA’s little step sister
through April 2
Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany
By Simone Kussatz
A “Tale of Two Worlds”, curated by director Victoria Noorthoorn and senior Javier Villa of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA), as well as curator Klaus Görner of the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) in Frankfurt can be regarded as Pacific Standard Time LA/LA’s little step sister across the Atlantic. For the German event also embraces and educates the viewer about Latin American art, however, the Frankfurt exhibit developed from a different idea than Pacific Standard Time LA/LA. It is a response to Museum Global, a project funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation, which aims to encourage German museums to look at its collections from a more global perspective to echo the influence of globalization, migration and transculturalism. Therefore, according to Görner, the exhibit’s goal is to provide a survey of the development of Latin American art from the mid 40’s to the mid 80’s and to create a dialogue with the art development on the Latin American continent and the MMK’s collection.
The show, which will travel to MAMBA in July, is quite large. It includes 500 objects from private and public collections by 100 artists, spread over the entire MMK1. This is the main building of the Museum für Moderne Kunst, which locals also refer to as the “Tortenstück” (a slice of cake) due to its triangular shape. Divided into 16 subsections presented on three different floors, the exhibit follows a loose narrative, which at times can become tedious to follow. It opens on level one with “Bridge between Two Worlds”, in which the works of Raúl Lozza, Tomás Maldonado and Italian avantgarde artist Lucio Fontana among others are displayed. This elegant choice serves two purposes. For one thing it sheds light on Latin America’s most influential artists, since Maldonado was the founder of Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención and Fontana the driving force behind The White Manifesto. And for another, Fontana’s bicultural background can be understood as a symbol for the intellectual bridge between Latin America and Europe. Fontana was born in Argentina and moved back and forth between his birth country and Italy, not only impacting the Buenos Aires’ art scene, but also having strong ties to the Italian contemporary art movement Arte Povera. Fontana’s bright red Concetto Spaziale, I Quanta (1960) and bright pink Concetto Spaziale (1962) on the high white walls in the first exhibition hall immediately engage the viewer.
“The Domestic Space as a Mirror of Society” makes one of the six sub-sections on the second floor. It shows Claes Oldenburg’s Bedroom Ensemble, Replica I juxtaposed against Beatriz González’s Toilette Madame Vigée Le Brun et sa fille. Both installations are a political commentary. Wheras Claes’ installation stresses on the absurdity of American culture, González’ work sheds light on the corrupt political elite of the former Columbian regime.
The exhibit continues with an interesting mix of vivid and monochromatic works of various art mediums and ends on the third floor with “Scrutinizing the Brushstroke”. This subsection presents the works of American artists Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Argentinian painter Kenneth Kemble. Since Kemble’s Gran pintura negra hangs next to Roy Lichtenstein’s Yellow and Green Brushstrokes, a comparison is inevitable. Accordingly, what stands out here is that although both artists pay an homage to the brushstroke, Lichtenstein’s composition seems much lighter and more optimistic through its bright colors and Ben-Day dots than Kemble’s black-dominated painting, which recalls Robert Motherwell’s Elegy of the Spanish Republic. Overall, the MMK’s exhibit succeeds in the Federal Cultural Foundation’s initiative of a more global museum experience.
Museum für Moderne Kunst,
Domstraße 10, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany