A new exhibition offers a look at the world of Latin American Design during a period regarded as one of the region’s most innovative. Moderno: Design for Living in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela, 1940 – 1978, put on by the Americas Society, focuses on mid-20th-century Latin American modern design.
"This exhibition shows that by the mid-20th century, Latin American designers were aware of the international developments in architecture and design but at the same time were creating living environments in accordance with the cultural customs of the individuals using them," said co-curator Jorge Rivas Pérez, a Venezuelan design historian and designer. "In a radical departure from post-colonial notions, designers in the region were producing a modern interior that was at the same time local and global."
Moderno presents 80 pieces, the majority of which have never been seen before. The collection includes one-of-a-kind and mass-produced household objects: furniture, ceramics, metalwork, textiles and printed material. This assortment both highlights traditions of craftsman design, and the transition from craftsmanship to industry. The unique presentation allows access into the minds of designers in a unique space, creating their own influential, culturally-specific works while also being influenced by international modern design.
“Moderno is an overdue case study approach of the central role of design, as a laboratory for ideas of progress and social engineering that shaped processes of modernization in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela in the post war,” said Americas Society Chief Curator and Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel.
The exhibition runs from Feb. 11 to May 16 at Americas Society, located at 680 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065. It is guest curated by Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos, Ana Elena Mallet and Jorge Rivas Pérez.