“Inverted Utopias”

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Exhibitions of Latin American art in Europe and the United States have long labored under the apparent necessity of introducing or explaining an entire continent’s artistic production to a public hitherto unaware of it. Surveys have inevitably been the norm, employing curatorial strategies that would be considered simplistic if applied to the history of European or North American art. As the work of twentieth-century Latin American artists became fashionable and attractive to the international art market in the ’80s, certain European and American enthusiasts aimed to realize their long-held ambition to establish Latin American art in the mainstream of contemporary culture. But with some exceptions, such as Dawn Ades’s pioneering “Art in Latin America: The Modern Era, 1820–1980” (Hayward Gallery, London, 1989) and Catherine de Zegher’s audacious “America, Bride of the Sun” (Royal Museum of

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