CONSERVATION PERSPECTIVES
FALL 2017
LATIN AMERICAN ART & ARCHITECTURE
A Note from the Director
Tim Whalen
 

This fall the Getty presents Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. PST: LA/LA involves exhibitions at more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California—from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara—initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation.

The Getty itself is offering four exhibitions at the Getty Center, including one organized by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Research Institute—Making Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. Combining art historical and scientific analysis, the exhibition examines the formal strategies and materials choices of avant-garde painters and sculptors in Argentina and Brazil associated with the Concrete art movement. These works of geometric abstraction, created between 1946 and 1962, are presented alongside information on GCI scientific research into the materials and methods of the artists, a component of our larger Modern and Contemporary Art Research Initiative.

The broad sweep of PST: LA/LA reflects an increased appreciation of the artistic output of Latin America beyond the region's boundaries. For that reason, we thought it timely to make the focus of this edition of Conservation Perspectives the work of our Latin American conservation colleagues as they endeavor to care for the region's vast and diverse architecture and contemporary art.

Our feature article—authored by Mexican conservator Claudio Hernández, Chilean curator Caroll Yasky, and GCI head of Science Tom Learner—takes a broad look at some of the issues in the conservation of contemporary art in Latin America and then surveys more closely recent conservation efforts in Mexico and Chile.

Turning to architecture, Cuban-born US conservator Rosa Lowinger explores the long and rich tradition of decorated surfaces in Cuba and the conservation challenges that architecture currently faces. Next, Brazilian architecture professor Fernando Diniz Moreira examines modern architecture in Brazil, much of which paradoxically received early legislative protection but subsequently has not always garnered the protection it needs, even as other preservation efforts increased. The final article—by conservation scientists Fernando Marte in Argentina and Luiz A. C. Souza in Brazil—details research they have conducted on Concrete art by Latin American artists that complements the investigations carried out by the GCI. To complete this issue, we have a conversation with Américo Castilla, Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, and Arianne Vanrell Vellosillo about how the handling, exhibition, and conservation issues of contemporary art in Latin America are—and are not—different from those elsewhere.

A major objective of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is to enhance awareness of the profusion and diversity of Latin American and Latino art in our time. I hope that this edition of Conservation Perspectives adds to that initiative and highlights the conservation needs of this extraordinary portion of the world's cultural heritage.

Timothy P. Whalen