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Inverted Utopias: Avant-garde Art from Latin America

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Eureka/Blindhotland by Cildo       Meireles

Chromosaturation by Carlos       Cruz-Diez

Reticulárea  by        Gego

Concreção 5942 (Concretion 5942) by Luis        Sacilotto

Concreção 5942 (Concretion 5942) by Luis        Sacilotto
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,
Jun 20, 2004 - Sep 12, 2004
Houston, TX, USA

Inverted Utopias
by Annie Laurie Sánchez

The former is possibly the crown jewel of the exhibition. Interaction is the key to "Touch and Gaze," which groups artworks that express "utopias of pure art grounded in the senses of sight and touch. The MFAH has one of Helio Oiticica’s original Parangolés, along with a video showing samba dancers twirling and dancing in them to the tune of the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil. There is also a replica of one of these garments for visitors to try on. There is also a table with replicas of Lygia Clark’s Sensorial masks (with various objects that effect the senses of sight, smell, hearing and touch) and her oculos sensoriais (originally of 1968) that allow two visitors to interact with each other and with the artwork. Volunteers stationed at the table encourage visitors to interact with the various pieces and to supply them with historical information. (The presence of these volunteers is yet a further demonstration of how far Ramí­rez and Olea were willing to go to ensure that visitors got the fullest experience of these works.) Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Cromosaturación, a labyrinthine room colored with non-electric lights in blue, orange and green, whose waves reflex the entire spectrum off of the white walls (this reviewer’s favorite), was also in this section, as were works by Julio LeParc, Guyla Kosice and Cildo Meireles.

"Vibrational and Stationary" drew together works that presented movement although they themselves were static. Works by Gego, Mira Schendel, Sergio de Camargo and Jesus Soto are featured in this constellation. In a satisfying twist for the Latin American art enthusiast, two paintings by David Alfaro Siqueiros end this section in a nod to the influence of film (particularly that if Sergei Eisenstein) on his use of planar space and the concept of sequence.

The organizers of Inverted Utopias have gone to every length to ensure that visitors have all of the necessary opportunities to properly view, interact with and understand the works on display. All triteness of constellation titles aside, the quality, diversity and messages of the works, coupled with the immense size of the exhibition, make Inverted Utopias powerfully unforgettable.

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