Gustavo Díaz: Cosmic Dialogues at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Apr 29, 2015

The MFAH Highlights Latin American Art This Summer

Nearly 50 works from the Museum’s collection will focus on visual explorations of space and light by Latin American artists

The Hydrospatial City, an immersive installation by Gyula Kosice, to be reinstalled

HOUSTON—April 29, 2015—This summer, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, highlights works from its renowned collection of Latin American art that focus on visual explorations of light and the cosmos. Cosmic Dialogues: Selections from the Latin American Collection features nearly 50 significant sculptures and drawings created over the past 70 years, including immersive light installations, rarely seen works on paper, and masterpieces of Kinetic art. The exhibition is on view from May 14 to August 23, 2015.

“The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has become a leader in collecting and presenting Latin American and Latino art,” said Gary Tinterow, Museum director. “Cosmic Dialogues presents a thematic examination of artworks from the Museum’s collection that will allow our visitors to engage with Latin American artistic innovators in new and exciting ways.”

“This dynamic display showcases Modern and Contemporary artists’ concern with the cosmos as a driving theme of their proposals,” said Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and director of the International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICAA) at the Museum. “We are thrilled to bring back an audience favorite: Gyula Kosice’s immersive, single-room installation, La ciudad hidroespacial (The Hydrospatial City), an important piece that was last on view in 2009.”

The Hydrospatial City—Kosice’s utopian vision of space architecture—is a room-sized display of acrylic models, light boxes, and drawings. Begun in 1946 and completed in 1972, it is the Argentinean artist’s most ambitious and longest-running project, epitomizing Kosice’s pioneering use of innovative materials such as Plexiglas, and illustrating his fundamental preoccupations with water, space, and the human condition. At a time when few paid attention to the physical depletion of the planet, Kosice’s The Hydrospatial City was both a sounding alarm and a poetic manifesto for mankind’s survival in space.

Kosice’s masterpiece will be displayed in dialogue with a selection of light-based structures by other Argentinean artists active in the Kinetic art movement in Europe, including Martha Boto, Horacio García Rossi, Julio Le Parc, and Gregorio Vardanega. Rejecting traditional painting and sculpture, these artists turned to light as the key medium for their production.

Cosmic Dialogues also draws from the Museum’s extensive holdings of masterworks by Venezuelan artist and sculptor Gego (born Gertrude Goldschmidt). In the 1960s and 1970s, Gego pioneered a structural method for drawing in space with a series of flexible, hanging net sculptures made of stainless steel wire. Four of these sculptures will be displayed, including the Museum’s own Reticularea (1975), the largest of the artist’s iconic series. The selection also features prints and drawings of interwoven lines and webs from the Fundación Gego collection, many of which have never before been on view.

The display of Gego’s works in Cosmic Dialogues is made possible through a long-standing agreement between Fundación Gego and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Under the terms of this agreement, the Museum houses and administers hundreds of works owned by the artist’s estate in exchange for the opportunity to exhibit them. This productive exchange has allowed the Museum to expand its holdings of Gego’s work as well as develop programs to promote it. The ICAA and Fundación Gego have partnered to produce two major exhibitions and four books on the German-born Venezuelan artist, and have also collaborated with other institutions to bring her work to the attention of audiences in Europe and Latin America.

Gego’s sculptures and works on paper will be set in contrast with works by contemporary artists concerned with issues of light and space, including detailed graphite drawings by Argentinean artist Gustavo Díaz and two examples from the Fortunas series by Mexican artist Pablo Vargas Lugo, who re-creates stellar maps on felt with antique coins from his personal collection.

This presentation is a follow-up to the Museum’s 2012 exhibition Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection, which displayed the richness of the Museum’s large holdings of Concrete and Constructive art.

Organization and Funding
This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States, with an encyclopedic collection of more than 65,000 works dating from antiquity to the present. The main campus comprises the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo and opened in 2000; the Caroline Wiess Law Building, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and opened in 1958, with an extension completed in 1974; and the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, designed by Isamu Noguchi and opened in 1986. Additional spaces include a repertory cinema, two libraries, public archives, and facilities for conservation and storage. Nearby, two house museums—Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and Rienzi—present American and European decorative arts. The MFAH is also home to the Glassell School of Art and its acclaimed Core Residency Program and Junior and Studio Schools; and the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), a leading research institute for 20th-century Latin American and Latino art.