January 27, 2020 - Blanton Museum of Art - The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s
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January 27, 2020

Blanton Museum of Art

Left: Amauta, año I, núm. 1 [Amauta vol. 1, no. 1], September, 1926. Magazine, 13 5/16 x 9 5/8 inches, Archivo José Carlos Mariátegui, Lima. Right: José Sabogal, Diseño de carátula de Amauta, año IV, núm. 26 [Cover design of Amauta vol. 4, no. 26] September-October 1929. Magazine, 9 15/16 x 6 15/16 inches, Archivo José Carlos Mariátegui, Lima.

The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s
February 16–May 17, 2020

Blanton Museum of Art
200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Austin, TX 78712
United States

blantonmuseum.org
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The Blanton Museum of Art presents The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s. Co-organized by the Blanton and the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), the exhibition traces the history of vanguard artistic production in Latin America in the 1920s from the vantage point of the Peruvian magazine Amauta. By centering on the debates surrounding the place of indigenous cultures in modernity, the exhibition reveals complex artistic and political networks that sought to rethink the region from the perspective of the revolutionary potential of avant-garde art.

During the 1920s, Latin American visual artists and writers promoted aesthetic, social, and political change in their local contexts, using magazines as critical spaces for the exchange of new ideas with peers at home and abroad. Amauta (1926-1930) was founded and published in Lima, Peru, by one of Latin America’s most prominent left-wing intellectuals, José Carlos Mariátegui.

Its broad circulation and vast network of agents and correspondents in over 60 Peruvian locations and 80 international cities positioned it as the most influential Latin American magazine of its time. Amauta published or reviewed work by Jorge Luis Borges, André Breton, Georg Grosz, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, Sigmund Freud, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, among many others, along with experimental poetry and polemical texts on film, politics, pedagogy, and culture.

The journal’s undogmatic, inclusive approach towards the visual arts was articulated through provocative page spreads that juxtaposed the art of Norah Borges (Argentina), Julia Codesido (Peru), Elena Izcue (Peru), Carlos Mérida (Guatemala, active in Mexico), José Sabogal (Peru), Emilio Pettoruti (Argentina) and Diego Rivera (Mexico), among many other artists from Europe and Latin America.  

The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta considers the magazine both as a political and artistic project and as an historical object. The exhibition sections explore major themes in Amauta including avant-garde networks in Latin America and Europe, the innovative potential artists found in traditional arts and crafts, the links between leftist politics and art making, and the emergence of Indigenism, a cultural and political movement that brought heightened attention to discourse about indigenous groups.

Consisting of significant loans from museums and private collections in the US, Argentina, Mexico, and Peru, this exhibition includes more than 200 objects in a range of media and styles including painting, sculpture, traditional crafts, publications, and ephemera, many of which from are from The Mariátegui Archive.

Artists in the exhibition, many of whom have rarely been exhibited in the US, include Dr. Atl, Martín Chambi, Lola Cueto, Juan Devéscovi, Gabriel Fernández Ledesma, Mariano Inés Flores, Roberto Montenegro, José Clemente Orozco, Emilio Pettorutti, Diego Rivera, José Sabogal, Rosendo Salazar, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Xul Solar, Rufino Tamayo, and Isabel Villaseñor.

The exhibition opened at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid; it traveled to the Museo de Arte de Lima in Peru and the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City before its concluding presentation at the Blanton.

The exhibition is co-curated by Beverly Adams, previous Blanton curator of Latin American art and now the Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art at the Museum of Modern Art and Natalia Majluf, previous director of the Museo de Arte de Lima. Adams and Majluf edited the accompanying catalogue, which is published in both Spanish and English versions and which features an introduction co-written by the curators plus several essays addressing subjects that had received limited attention in scholarship about the period.

The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s is organized by the Blanton Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte de Lima.

Major funding for the exhibition is provided by The Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation.

Generous funding is also provided by Judy and Charles Tate, Jeanne and Michael Klein, PromPerú, and the Scurlock Foundation Exhibition Endowment, with additional support from Sarah and Ernest Butler.

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