Fernando "Coco" Bedoya

Born in the Amazons of Peru in 1952.
collage on paper
dimensions: 20 1/2 × 14 9/16in. (52 × 37cm)
Museo de Arte de Lima Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee 2012

South American art is inseparably intertwined with literature. For many South American artists, there is no separation at all, as was the case for mail artists and Proyecto Coquito which focusses on a educational book of the same name which many Latin Americans had used to learn to read and write. Despite the book being banned and teachers being forced to use the official government text, in 1979 Coquito was still in widespread use. Bedoya describes, “El ´80 había regresado a Buenos Aires, y en asamblea contra la dictadura argentina hice una ferviente crítica contra los militares. Al terminar, alguien me pregunta mi nombre y yo digo Coquito. Con ese nombre salvé mi vida, pues a Fernando Bedoya lo hubiesen desaparecido.” [In 1980 I had returned to Buenos Aires, and in an assembly against the Argentine dictatorship I made a fervent critic against the military regime. When finished, someone asked me my name and I said Coquito. With that name I saved my life, because Fernando Bedoya would have been disappeared.]

Eugenio Espinoza

Born in 1950, in San Juan de los Morros, Venezuela.
Espinoza’s works include paintings, photographs, sculptures, postcards and documentation of performances and interventions. Currently living in Florida, Espinoza is known for his nonfigurative, humorous and irreverent manipulations of grid forms, that he began developing in the late-1960s. 
dimensions: acrylic on canvas, coconuts, and rope
59 × 59 × 10in. (149.9 × 149.9 × 25.4cm)
Private Collection, Miami, FL

Following rapid economic growth during the 1960s and 1970s, geometric abstraction and kinetic art were adopted by the Venezuelan government as cultural signifiers of Venezuela's entry into modernity. The constructional quality of geometric abstraction mirrored the developmentalist rhetoric of Venezuela's government. Eugenio Espinoza used this to criticize the state and the predominantly Western forms of artmaking. In 'Circumstantial (12 coconuts),' Espinoza appropriates the modernist symbol of a grid, which he has described as the "graphic representation of real space." He challenges it by using raw canvas, displaying the work without stretcher bars and hanging it in a non-traditional way as a sculptural item rather than as a painting on the wall. He conflates the rigid imagery with what he calls "tropical or folk objects." In doing so, Espinoza creates irreverent works that engages the viewer through spatial obstruction. 

Marcel Gautherot

Born in Paris, France in 1910. Lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro. 
Gautherot was a French-Brazilian photographer. Initially he studied architecture and then subsequently dedicating himself to photography. He came to Brazil in 1940, his interest in the country awakened by reading the novel Jubiabá by Jorge Amado. After a brief journey around the Amazon, he settled in Rio de Janeiro. 
Inkjet print with mineral pigments on 100% cotton paper
dimensions: Image 17 11/16 × 17 11/16in. (45 × 45cm)
Coleção Marcel Gautherot / Acervo Instituto Moreira Salles

Brasilia was built in only 41 months, from 1956 to 1960, as part of Juscelino Kubitschek's campaign, "50 years of prosperity in 5".  It was a city built to be free of colonial influence, but was never able to fully escape. Lucio Costa served as the head urban designer with Oscar Niemeyer as his head architect. Together, the two built a truly modern city composed of two axes, with government buildings along the north/south axis and the residential neighborhoods spanning east to west. At the time of construction, the neighborhoods built 'superblocks' that were championed as equalizers and played a large role in why Costa's plan was selected from the over 5,000 submitted. The housing blocks were intended to make a more egalitarian city where the upper and middle classes lived side by side. Costa also designated lower income housing in an attempt to prevent favelas from developing on the outskirts of the city. However, these superblocks led the city's commerce to be segregated to certain neighborhoods. Due to the city's purposeful design, it was difficult to change its geography to improve the issue.

Juan Downey

Born in Santiago, Chile in 1940. 
Juan Downey is known primarily as a pioneering video artist but also works in drawing, electronic media, installation, painting, performance, and printmaking.
installation: wooden structure encasing a live Anaconda snake, water receptacle, and a drawing of a map of Chile
dimensions: 83 7/16 × 66 15/16 × 17 11/16in. (212 × 170 × 45cm)
Courtesy of Juan Yarur Torres, Fundacion AMA, Santiago, Chile

Chilean born Juan Downey was living in New York when Pinochet took control of Chile. He made this piece in reaction to the Anaconda Mining Company's role in Pinochet's rise to power. This piece, like many other works in the gallery, calls into question the validity of borders that are imposed on populations rather than naturally occurring. Here the anaconda is allowed to slither freely across Chile's borders, representing the grip international companies, like The Anaconda Mining Company, had over Chilean politics as a result of colonialism. Like Downey, many other South American artists spent time abroad, prompting them to question what effect these borders have on the populations surrounding them, and what their importance is.

Juan Downey
Anaconda Map of Chile
1973, installation: wooden structure encasing a live Anaconda snake, water receptacle, and a drawing of a map of Chile, dimensions: 83 7/16 × 66 15/16 × 17 11/16in. (212 × 170 × 45cm). Courtesy of Juan Yarur Torres, Fundacion AMA, Santiago, Chile.
Jonathan Hernández
Vulerabilia (interiores)
2013, newspaper cuttings on cardboard, 41 3/4 × 53 3/8in. (106 × 135.5cm) framed: 42 11/16 × 54 × 2 1/16in. (108.4 × 137.2 × 5.3cm). Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City. © Jonathan Hernández Photo: Michel Zabé/Omar Luis Olguín, 2010.
Jonathan Hernández
Vulerabilia (perfect vacuum)
2012, newspaper cuttings on cardboard, framed: 41 5/16 × 36 × 2in. (105 × 91.5 × 5cm). Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City. © Jonathan Hernández Photo: Michel Zabé/Omar Luis Olguín, 2012.
Lisa Williamson
32 Pools
2014, wood, resin, acrylic, 101 1/2 × 11 3/4 × 11 3/4in. (257.8 × 29.8 × 29.8cm). Courtesy of the artist and Tif Sigfrids. Photo: Ruben Diaz.
Barbara T. Smith
The Cloistered Study
1976, color photos and found objects mounted on felt; vintage b/w photograph mounted on chipboard; performance artifact: color photos, plastic photo case with embroidery fragment as tie , dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and The Box, LA. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen..
Tala Madani
Dirty Starts
2008, oil on linen, 76 3/4 × 76 3/4in. (195 × 195cm). Courtesy of the artist and Jane Lombard Gallery, NY.