The Syllabus

The Emergent Decade: Latin American Painters and Painting in the 1960’s

The Emergent Decade: Latin American Painters and Painting in the 1960’s

Contributions by Cornell Capa and Thomas M. Messer
Published in 1966
192 pages, fully illustrated

In the summer and fall of 1964, former Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Thomas M. Messer embarked upon two trips to Latin America in pursuit of discovering the most significant contemporary Latin American painters and paintings. As a result, the exhibition The Emergent Decade: Latin American Painters and Painting in the 1960's presented the work of numerous artists from over eight Latin American countries to an American audience. The accompanying catalogue features correspondence between Messer and several of the artists in the exhibition. These letters, exclusively related to their artistic practice and theory, reveal the personal relationship between Messer and the artists, as well as his dedication to bringing recognition to the contemporary art of Latin America. Essays by Messer cover art and Latin America, and photographer Cornell Capa contributes intimate photo essays and profiles of featured artists. Also included are selected biographies and a bibliography.


In this tenuous balance of superimposed identities, an accurate Latin American profile cannot be drawn in heavy lines. Its visual component, the artist's work is varied and diverse, and not reducible to an artificial uniformity. Such a diversity reflects that richness of ideas, of responses, and of perceptions that is as much a part of life in Latin America as it is of life in Europe or the United States. If a subtle unity asserts itself, nonetheless, it is a unity that is not inconsistent with diversification, a unity that envelops a fragmented texture with a wholeness that is frail and transparent but nevertheless real.

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