SOURCE: Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Americas Society/Council of the Americas

SOURCE: Hunter College

Hunter College

October 02, 2015 08:00 ET

Boundless Reality: Traveler Artists' Landscapes of Latin America From the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection

On View at Americas Society and at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College October 30, 2015, Through January 23, 2016; Press Preview: Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 5:00 P.M.

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - October 02, 2015) - Americas Society and the Hunter College Art Galleries are pleased to announce the opening on October 30 of Boundless Reality: Traveler Artists' Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, a selection of rarely seen paintings, works on paper, photographs, and books that describe the beauty and complexity of life in Mexico, Central, and South America in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. A press preview will be held at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College and at the Americas Society Art Gallery in New York City on Wednesday, October 28 at 5:00 p.m. R.S.V.P.: mediarelations@as-coa.org.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Harper Montgomery, the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Professor of Latin American Art at Hunter College, and students from her master's course, Curatorial Practicum: Subjectivity and the Nineteenth-Century Latin American Landscape. Boundless Reality features more than 150 works by artists from Europe, the United States, and Latin America, ranging from 1638 to 1887. It will be shown simultaneously at the Americas Society Art Gallery and the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College through January 23, 2016.

Boundless Reality is the culmination of a multiyear collaborative effort between Hunter College, The Graduate Center at City University of New York (CUNY), Americas Society, and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC). The exhibition is a selection of major works from the collection Traveler Artists to Latin America, which Gustavo Cisneros and Patricia Phelps de Cisneros began in 1997. The works span three and a half centuries of Latin American landscape art, from the arrival of Dutch Colonial artist Frans Post to Brazil, and continuing with the visits of numerous traveling artists from Europe and the United States. By the late nineteenth century native-born artists were adopting landscape painting as the language of the new republics, forging a new sense of national identity.

"When my wife Patty and I began collecting landscapes of Latin America by traveler artists to and within the region, we recognized that the images they recorded represented a way to perceive a world whose boundaries transcended political borders. They further provided an understanding of Latin America as a network of interconnected ideas, traditions, and fruitful exchange," said Fundación Cisneros/Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Co-founder Gustavo Cisneros. "The responsibility of the collector to preserve the heritage of artworks involves more than the crucial work of caring for them physically. It involves giving them new avenues of correspondence with other works of art and other traditions, and creating new scholarship that reveals previously unseen connections and discovers new facts. Patty and I are especially proud of the students whose research and curatorial work contributed to this exhibition. Their work has added important gains to the intellectual preservation that will allow these works to live for a new generation, who will no doubt discover in them national identities with more in common than previously imagined."

The show includes drawings, watercolors, paintings, photographs, and books by key figures including Ferdinand Bellermann, Frederic Edwin Church, Marc Ferrez, Auguste Morisot, Camille Pissarro, and José María Velasco among others. Two paintings in the exhibition by Frans Post and a book by Willem Piso predate the nineteenth century, but most of the works in the exhibition were made during the 1830s, '40s, and '50s, the years following the Latin American wars of independence.

Boundless Reality serves as an exploration into a genre that is receiving increasing scholarly attention. While Alexander von Humboldt's observations on the aesthetics of the continent's extraordinary scenery were influential, it was only after the colonies obtained independence from Spain that the New World opened up to the gaze of foreign artists who arrived individually, drawn by their own interests, or collectively in commercial missions dispatched by foreign governments. The artists' renderings document the ways in which travelers encountered and experienced the region as well as the challenges they faced to describe an aesthetic reality for which the language of conventional Western art was inadequate.

The title of the exhibition is inspired by a reflection by the Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, who stated that language was not enough to describe the "boundless reality" that is conveyed by the extraordinarily rich nature of Latin America and the Caribbean. Boundless Reality reveals that the landscape tradition was not reserved to artists who traveled great distances to record the geography and the people they encountered in the Torrid Zone. It includes native-born artists who drew in the European landscape tradition to reflect on their own culture, as exemplified by José María Velasco's paintings of Mexico, which not only embrace the European enlightenment sensibility, but also a growing sense of national identity.

"This project brings to light new research on an area whose enormous artistic interest and scholarly importance are just now coming to be recognized by art historians and scholars. Viewing these landscapes by artists of many different origins suggests that, even though their orientations may differ, the demands of representing Latin America generated a transnational language that was well suited to the new nineteenth-century capability for enormous mobility," said Dr. Montgomery.

Boundless Reality: Traveler Artists' Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection is organized in two distinct but related sections. Hunter College's Leubsdorf Gallery will present works that convey to what extent the European tradition of landscape painting underwent changes in the process of being applied to represent Latin American landscapes. Auguste Morisot's 1886 expedition up the Orinoco River serves as the centerpiece of Americas Society Art Gallery's component of the exhibition, which includes photographs, drawings, and prints. Morisot's archive exemplifies the emergence of photography in the nineteenth century and its relationship to the conventions of painting and representing the exotic landscape.

"The Latin American and Caribbean traveler artists were influenced in a big way by the ideas of the extraordinary eighteenth-century scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, who was the subject of a major exhibition at Americas Society in 2014," said Americas Society/Council of the Americas President and CEO Susan Segal. "Boundless Reality is a very ambitious project in terms of the scope of the artists included and the territory covered in what was then an unknown world. We are proud to continue our historical and artistic exploration of the Latin American landscape, this time with the very unique contribution of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros."

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Frans Post's View of Frederica City in Paraíba (1638) and Landscape with Chapel (ca. 1663).
  • Cotopaxi (1853) by Frederick Edwin Church, and Sunset: A Scene in Brazil (1864 - 65) by Martin Johnson Heade.
  • Fritz George Melbye's depictions of Venezuela (1866, 1853) and José María Velasco's depictions of Mexico (1870s).
  • Works from the CPPC's extensive holding of photographs and drawings from Auguste Morisot's 1886 expedition up the Orinoco River.

Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, an authoritative new book on the early history of landscape painting in Latin America, is published on the occasion of this exhibition. This richly illustrated volume introduces informative new essays on the paintings and drawings from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros -- including some works that are not on view in the exhibition. The publication contributes new scholarship to this burgeoning field and offers original research on fifty-two artworks by such key figures as Frans Post, Frederick Edwin Church, José María Velasco, and Auguste Morisot, many of which are reproduced for the first time.

The exhibition Boundless Reality: Traveler Artists' Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection is organized in collaboration with the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Hunter College.

The presentation of the exhibition at Americas Society is made possible by the generous support of Adriana Cisneros de Griffin and Nicholas Griffin, Agnes Gund, The Lauder Foundation - Leonard & Judy Lauder Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Peter and Melanie Munk, Alvaro Saieh B., Alice Walton, and Art Agency Partners.

The Fall 2015 Visual Arts program is supported by Jaime and Raquel Gilinski and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Image Credit: Alessandro Ciccarelli (1811-1879), Italy. View of Rio de Janeiro, c. 1840. Oil on canvas, 56.5 x 81.3 cm (22 ¼ x 32 inches). Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

PUBLIC PROGRAMS

ON VIEW
October 30, 2015 - January 23, 2016
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
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Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065
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Gallery hours for both venues:
Wednesday to Saturday
12:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Free admission

PRESS PREVIEW
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
5:00 p.m.
Dr. Harper Montgomery, Hunter College's Patricia Phelps de Cisneros professor of Latin American art, will host the media and will be available for interviews. The tour will begin at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College and will proceed to the Americas Society Art Gallery.
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065

GENERAL OPENING
Friday, October 30, 2015
12:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065
Free admission

LANDSCAPE WALK IN CENTRAL PARK
Organized by Americas Society
Saturday, October 31, 2015
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
There is a long tradition of thinking and walking that links philosophical discourse and the human body in its exploration of the space through motion. Central Park guides and Americas Society Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel will lead a small group through the park, weaving relations between art, landscape, and nature.
The Dairy Visitor Center, Central Park
65th Street Transverse, New York, NY 10065
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Admission: Americas Society members and Hunter College students only (please bring your student ID).
Learn here how to become an AS member to access this event.

EXHIBITION TOUR
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Experience the show through a guided tour at each of the two exhibition venues with Rafael Romero, director emeritus of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; Rafael Santana, assistant director of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; and Dr. Harper Montgomery, curator of the exhibition, distinguished lecturer, and Patricia Phelps de Cisneros professor of Latin American art at Hunter College. Tour will begin at Americas Society Art Gallery.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065
Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

LANDSCAPE WALK IN CENTRAL PARK
Organized by Americas Society
Saturday, November 7, 2015
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
There is a long tradition of thinking and walking that links philosophical discourse and the human body in its exploration of the space through motion. Central Park guides and Americas Society Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel will lead a small group through the park, weaving relations between art, landscape, and nature.
The Dairy Visitor Center, Central Park
65th Street Transverse, New York, NY 10065
View map
Admission: Americas Society members and Hunter College students only (please bring your student ID).
Learn here how to become an AS member to access this event.

"THE IMPENETRABILITY OF LANDSCAPE," A TALK BY ARTIST ALICE MICELI
Monday, November 30, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Brazilian artist Alice Miceli will present a talk on recent works that explore the phenomenon of impenetrable, inaccessible spaces -- places that, even in our globalized world, remain somehow off the map. Miceli will introduce two bodies of work: "In Depth (landmines)," 2015, her current research into minefields in Cambodia and Colombia; and the "Chernobyl Project," 2007-2012, a previous project centered on the creation of visualization patterns for the invisible radioactive contamination in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. She will comment on the similarities and disparities between the two in order to raise questions about the nature of landscape representation nowadays.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Admission:Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

TALK WITH SCHOLAR DANIELA BLEICHMAR
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Daniela Bleichmar is a guest scholar of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics program with Hunter College. The program brings key figures from Latin America to Hunter College to address topics in contemporary art and scholarship through talks with students and the New York community. In addition to this forum, Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics conduct studio visits and seminar discussions with Hunter MFA and MA students during their residency.
Hunter College, Room 1527HN
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
View map
Free admission

"POEMA VOLCÁNICO," A TALK BY ARTIST EDUARDO NAVARRO WITH CURATOR SARAH DEMEUSE
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Argentine artist Eduardo Navarro will speak with curator Sarah Demeuse and will present his artwork Poema Volcánico, which deals with the Ecuadorian volcanic geography. In 2014, while climbing the active volcano Guagua Pichincha, he created drawings from litmus paper, which measured the acidity of the gas emissions produced by the fumaroles inside the crater of the volcano. Navarro is a guest scholar of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics program with Hunter College. The program brings key figures from Latin America to Hunter College to address topics in contemporary art and scholarship through talks with students and the New York community. In addition to this forum, Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics conduct studio visits and seminar discussions with Hunter MFA and MA students during their residency.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

EXHIBITION TOUR
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Hunter College graduate student Agnieszka Anna Ficek will lead a tour of the two Boundless Reality exhibition venues, beginning at Americas Society Art Gallery.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065
Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

EXHIBITION DESIGN: A TALK BY PREM KRISHNAMURTHY AND SHANNON HARVEY
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
6:30 p.m.
Prem Krishnamurthy and Shannon Harvey of design studio Project Projects will discuss exhibition design as a dynamic element within Boundless Reality. Building off of both historical precedents and the studio's extensive experience, their talk will contextualize the active role exhibition display has in shaping the reception of artworks and artifacts.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

Americas Society is the premier organization dedicated to education, debate and dialogue in the Americas. Established by David Rockefeller in 1965, our mission is to foster an understanding of the contemporary political, social and economic issues confronting Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas and the importance of the inter-American relationship. Americas Society Visual Arts program boasts the longest-standing private space in the U.S. dedicated to exhibiting and promoting art from Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada; it has achieved a unique and renowned leadership position in the field, producing both historical and contemporary exhibitions.

The Hunter College Art Galleries, under the auspices of the Department of Art and Art History, have been a vital aspect of the New York cultural landscape since their inception over a quarter of a century ago. This exhibition builds on a long tradition of creative interchange between the disciplines of art history and studio art at Hunter. Widely regarded as one of the leading art programs in the country, Hunter College's Department of Art and Art History serves both undergraduate and graduate students, offering an undergraduate major in Art, a BFA and an MFA in Studio Art, and an MA in Art History. In its 2012 rankings of "America's Best Graduate Schools," U.S. News & World Report ranked Hunter's Master of Fine Arts program thirteenth and the painting and drawing program seventh in the nation.

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