Antes de América

October 10, 2023 – The Juan Carlos Maldonado Collection is pleased to announce the loan of the following pieces: Maria Freire’s Sudamérica, 1958 and Mathias Goeritz’s Mensaje Dorado, 1960 to the exhibition Antes de América. Fuentes originarias en la cultura moderna  (Before América: Original Sources in Modern Culture) co-curated by Rodrigo Gutiérrez Viñuales and Renata Ribeiro dos Santos, taking place at the Fundación Juan March Madrid from October 06, 2023, to March 10, 2024.

With more than six hundred works, Before América: Original Sources in Modern Culture presents a long process based on sources dating back to before Europeans christened an entire continent “America”: the reinterpretation, in modern and contemporary culture, of the forms and meanings of ancient Indigenous civilizations and cultures, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

The exhibition starts by returning us to the beginning of this process in the late eighteenth century, and follows its development throughout the nineteenth century, focusing on certain scientific expeditions in the American continent, archaeological discoveries, the formation of collections, and the subsequent development of historicist architecture. This process adopted an Americanist identity, which became more pronounced as a result of the reinterpretation of pre-Columbian knowledge and languages—especially in and around schools of arts and crafts—which ended up revolutionizing graphic design, literature, theater, film, music, and fashion.

The exhibition also looks at the artistic projects that reclaimed or invented “ancestral” culture in the mid-twentieth century, a time when new artists ventured into America and explored it, collected their finds, and documented the monuments of the past in photographs and drawings. It then brings us back to the present day, revealing how the Amerindian paradigm around the world does not seem to be running out of steam: it persists in the conscious use of geometry and color, in the critical or ironic quoting of the past, in performance art, Indigenous-based postmodern architectures, intentional kitsch, the refinement of conceptual art, the new artistic behaviors, and the sophisticated revitalization of arts and crafts, now full of new sociopolitical and aesthetic meanings.

To learn more about the exhibition at the Fundación Juan March Madrid, click here.

To purchase exhibition catalogue and merchandise, click here.