The Museum of Modern Art Presents Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940-1980

February 26, 2024

The Museum of Modern Art announces Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940 -1980 at the Museum of Modern Art from March 8th through September 22, 2024.

Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America , 1940–1980 , is the first exhibition by a major American museum to examine modern design in the region on a broad scale.

On view from March 8 through September 22, 2024, the exhibition will focus on six countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela—that spearheaded the development of modern domestic design in Latin America.

Through more than 100 objects, including furniture, graphic design, textiles, ceramics, and photography, drawn from MoMA’s collection and from public and private collections across the US, Latin America, and Europe, the exhibition will demonstrate how the field of design in Latin America provides a valuable platform for examining and understanding larger political, social, and cultural transformations in the region.

“There is design in everything,” wrote Clara Porset, the innovative Cuban Mexican designer. She believed that craft and industry could inspire each other, forging an alternative path for modern design.

Not all of Porset’s colleagues agreed with her conviction. This exhibition presents these sometimes-conflicting visions of modernity proposed by designers of home environments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela between 1940 and 1980.

For some, design was an evolution of local and Indigenous craft traditions, leading to an approach that combined centuries-old artisanal techniques with machine-based methods.

For others, design responded to market conditions and local tastes, and was based on available technologies and industrial processes.

In this exhibition, objects including furniture, appliances, posters, textiles, and ceramics, as well as a selection of photographs and paintings, will explore these tensions.

The home became a site of experimentation for modern living during a period marked by dramatic political, economic, and social changes, which had broad repercussions for Latin American visual culture.

For nearly half a century, the design of the domestic environment embodied ideas of national identity, models of production, and modern ways of living.

The home also offered opportunities for a dialogue between art, architecture, and design.

Highlights of the exhibition include Clara Porset’s Butaque chair; Lina Bo Bardi’s Bowl chair; Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan, and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy’s B.K.F. Chair; and Roberto Matta’s Malitte Lounge Furniture.

The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, New York, NY 10019, General Admission,

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