New York

“Image and Memory: Latin American Photography 1880–1992”

El Museo del Barrio

While the clichéd title “Image and Memory” could be (and has been) applied to photography shows from virtually anywhere, the subtitle “Latin American Photography, 1880–1992,” for an exhibition of 141 photographs from nine countries, was clearly a misnomer. The idea that anyone could do justice in a show of this size to the whole field of Latin American photography from the dawn of the medium to the present is unrealistic at best, and arrogantly condescending at worst. In her introduction to the exhibition brochure, curator Wendy Watriss attempts to take herself off the hook with the extraordinary claim that “as there is no such thing as a Latin American identity, there are no paradigms within its photographic art.” If there are no examples or models, and no comparisons to be made in Latin American photography, then why in the world would one bother to organize a show such as this?

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