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Our second floor features two galleries from the Constellations exhibit and will continue to be on display until March 18, 2013

Constructivism, Internationalism, and the Inter-American Avant-Garde

An exhibit of the permanent collection. Curated by Abigail McEwen.

Digital Catalog

Photo Gallery

June 21 - October 7, 2012

AMA ׀ Art Museum of the Americas
201 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Hours TUE-SUN | 10 AM-5 PM

Drawn from the permanent collection of the Art Museum of the Americas, Constellations surveys the dynamic, inter-American history of geometric abstraction across the twentieth century.  The works on display illustrate the rich cultural and visual history of geometric abstraction as it evolved into a range of expressive and divergent practices across the region.  The universal and timeless structures of geometric forms and colors took on specific local meanings, and Constellations suggests the different values – modern, utopian, collective, transformative – that abstraction embodied at critical moments across the Americas.  In line with the broader mission of AMA and the Organization of American States, Constellations recognizes the socially constructive role that the arts have played in fostering democracy and freedom of expression at intense historical moments of social and political change.

Taking its cue from the work of Joaquín Torres-García, the Uruguayan constructivist who pioneered abstraction in the Southern Cone, Constellations shows the evolution of the geometric impulse through four complementary movements. These interrelated “constellations” – Constructivist Americas, Figuring Geometry, Constructive Geometries, and Geometry in Motion – explore the visual and ideological versatility of abstraction from the 1930s through the 1950s and ‘60s.  The four constellations resist linear chronologies and national paradigms, instead describing a history of synergies and encounters across time and space.  From the Taller Torres-García and the Argentine Madí group to Colombian Constructivism, Cuban Concretismo, and Venezuelan Kineticism, abstraction encompassed optics and technology, political activism and dissent, and inter-American dialogue and exchange.  As interest in geometric abstraction has surged over the past decade, the AMA’s foundational holdings in this area provide an essential touchstone for both scholars and contemporary artists.  The artworks featured in Constellations suggest the multifaceted aspirations and motivations of avant-gardes across the Americas and the vitality of geometry as a structural and social metaphor.