The impressive, first-ever exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America is now on display at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. On Christmas Eve I was given a special tour of this exhibition, and I must admit it’s fantastic! For a limited time, visitors have the rare privilege to experience one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.
Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection contains almost a hundred memorable paintings, by the likes of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Joaquín Torres-García, Fernando Botero, Alfredo Castañeda and Fernando de Szyszlo. Many nations, cultures, themes, moods and styles are represented. You’ll see impressionistic landscapes, lively scenes depicted through the lens of cubism, weirdly rendered surrealism, and mind-bending, eye-teasing abstraction. Many of the works reflect different Latin American national identities. Many contrast modernity with the culture and memory of indigenous people.
I was struck by the deep emotion that radiated from most of these works. I detected human pride and passion, childlike innocence and gnawing guilt, deep love and intense anger, inexpressible suffering and irrepressible joy. These emotions were often presented in confused contrast.
One masterful work by Frida Kahlo titled Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon shows an innocent girl sitting between ancient symbols of night and day–the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. She is seemingly lost in a barren desert, a model of a World War II bomber in her hands. Her quiet expression contains resignation and sadness.
My few photos here are a modest representation of the actual exhibition. To see the true colors, the touches of light and seeping darkness, the diverse textures and stunning vibrancy of these many paintings, head down to the museum while you can. You might not have a chance to see this amazing collection again.
Modern Masters from Latin America is on display at the San Diego Museum of Art through March 11. Among the fantastic works are two by Frida Kahlo, but to see those you must visit by January 14.
I recently published an odd, moving short story about a world made of bones. You can read it here.