Guggenheim Announces MAP Curator for Latin America

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Pablo León de la Barra

Pablo León de la Barra has been selected as Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America. As part of the second phase of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, he will work with Guggenheim curatorial staff to identify works by contemporary Latin American artists that represent some of the region’s most innovative practices.

Aimed at generating a dynamic engagement with artists, curators, and a general audience, the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative seeks to foster intercultural exchange through acquisitions for the Guggenheim’s collection, international touring exhibitions, and far-reaching educational and online activities—as well as the curatorial residency program in which León de la Barra is the second individual to take part.

“His experience with contemporary art and artists from Latin America, and in generating new ways of thinking about contemporary art practices, make him the ideal candidate to be Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America,” said Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.

Born in Mexico City in 1972, León de la Barra earned his Ph.D. in Histories and Theories from the Architectural Association, London. He has curated or cocurated more than a dozen exhibitions resulting from his extensive research in Latin America over the past decade. He is also the founder of the Novo Museo Tropical, and was the curator of the first Bienal Tropical in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2011). In 2012, he received the first Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean.

In his role as Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America, León de la Barra will draw on his years of extensive research, as well the expertise of local artists, curators, and intellectuals. Dialogue surrounding the distinctive cultural and artistic landscape of the region will provide a foundation for an exhibition that is planned to open at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2014 before traveling to two international venues. Artworks chosen by León de la Barra and the Guggenheim curatorial team will enter the permanent collection under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative Purchase Fund.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to learn from such a respected institution, while at the same time sharing the knowledge I have developed after years of research and practice in the region, which will provide for a wider dialogue and understanding of the complexities and distinctiveness of art production in Latin America,” León de la Barra said.

León de la Barra’s residency overlaps with that of June Yap, who organized a traveling exhibition focused on the cultural and artistic practices of South and Southeast Asia. No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, was recently on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and will tour to the Asia Society Hong Kong Center in October 2013. In the third phase, the initiative will focus on the Middle East and North Africa.

For more information, read León de la Barra’s bio and the full media release.

Pablo León de la Barra. Photo: Kristopher McKay