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United States of Latin America

Curated by: Jens Hoffmann and Pablo León de la Barra
On View: September 18, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Opening Friday, September 18, 2015
Member Preview: 6 - 7pm
Join the exhibition curators for complimentary beer and wine during the members only preview.
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Public Opening: 7 - 10pm

Felipe Arturo

Minerva Cuevas, America, 2006, Acrylic Paint on Wall, Dimensions Variable. Courtesy Kadist Art Foundation and the artist

The exhibition United States of Latin America brings together more than thirty emerging artists from Latin America, many of whom will be exhibiting in the United States for the first time.

The show is based on an ongoing conversation between two curators, Jens Hoffmann and Pablo León de la Barra, who for a number of years have exchanged research and information about artists, artworks, and the overall development of the art world from Mexico to Argentina and the many countries in between. The exhibition is an extension of this dialogue into the galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit via artworks suggested in dialogue format.

United States of Latin America features a wide range of works in a variety of mediums, for instance a series of photographs about housing in Havana, a film about the effects of gang violence in Mexico, sculptures reflecting on the involvement of the CIA in Latin American dictatorships, drawings of historical monuments from the future, a floor map about the selling of Brazilian rubber to the United States, boulders from a Colombian river that have been turned into flip-flops, and paintings about the interplay of modernist houses, tropical vegetation, and utopian architecture. The individual artworks touch upon themes such as geography, history, urbanism, memory, colonialism, architecture, war, modernism, social inequality, regionalism, and power. Given how Latin America's realities oscillate between the colonial and the contemporary, between severe economic hardships and enormous financial expansions, between flourishing democracies and suppressive dictatorships, and between great progress and immense regression, the exhibition presents an intentionally fragmented survey, a deliberately disjointed overview, of the region and the art being made there. It allows the viewer a glimpse into a reality that may seem geographically near, but is in many ways far away and unfamiliar.

The curators invited a number of writers and curators from throughout Latin America to contribute to a glossary of terms that articulate the region's historical landscape and conceptual syntax. This glossary will be published in the exhibition catalogue along with a conversation between the curators, texts on all of the artists, images of the exhibited artworks, and a roundtable discussion featuring a number of curators based in Latin America.

Developed in collaboration with Kadist Art Foundation, United States of Latin America is curated by Jens Hoffmann, MOCAD senior curator at large, and Pablo León de la Barra, guest curator. A range of public programs and educational activities will run concurrently with the exhibition, including a public conversation with the curators, lectures by some of the participating artists, film screenings, and performances.

Participating Artists:
Pablo Accinelli, Edgardo Aragón, Juan Araujo, Felipe Arturo, Nicolás Bacal, Milena Bonilla, Paloma Bosquê, Pia Camil, Bevenuto Chavajay, Marcelo Cidade, Donna Conlon & Jonathan Harker, Nicolás Consuegra, Minerva Cuevas, Elena Damiani, Mariana Castillo Deball, Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Federico Herrero, Voluspa Jarpa, Runo Lagomarsino, Adriana Lara, Engel Leonardo, Valentina Liernur, Mateo López, Renata Lucas, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Nicolás Paris, Amalia Pica, Pablo Rasgado, Pedro Reyes, Adrián Villar Rojas, Gabriel Sierra, Clarissa Tossin, Carla Zaccagnini

About Kadist:
Kadist Art Foundation is a nonprofit visual arts organization based in Paris and San Francisco that believes the arts make a fundamental contribution to a progressive society. Its programs actively encourage the engagement of artists, often those represented in its collection, with the important issues of today to promote their role as cultural agents. Kadist's collections and productions reflect the global scope of contemporary art, and its programs develop collaborations with like-minded artists, curators, and art organizations around the world.

Press for United States of Latin America

"The United State of Latin America @ MOCAD"
Sarah Rose Sharp
Detroit Art Review, September 24, 2015

"UNITED STATES OF LATIN AMERICA September 18, 2015 - January 3, 2016"
Latin American Journal, September 17, 2015

"United States of Latin America: A Conversation with Jens Hoffmann and Pablo León de la Barra"
Sarah Rose Sharp
Art In America, September 16, 2015

Felipe Arturo

Felipe Arturo, Primero Estaba el Mar (First was the Sea), 2012, 64 Concrete Pieces, 151L x 38W x 19H inches. Courtesy Kadist Art Foundation and the artist

Felipe Arturo

Pia Camil, Espectacular (cortina), 2012, Stitched and Hand Died Canvas, 79L x 212W inches. Courtesy Kadist Art Foundation and the artist

Detroit Affinities: Jonathan Hernández

On View: September 18, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Jonathan Hern&aacutendez
Jonathan Hernández, Vulnerabilia (no cars go), collage on paper, 2015 (Detail). Courtesy the artist and kurimanzutto

Begun over a decade ago, Vulnerabilia is built upon Jonathan Hernández’s fascination with our media-saturated present. The title of the series evokes the idea of “vulnerability” while referencing the delicacy of the original materials that Hernández uses as well as the form and fragility of life. Cut directly from the daily news, the thin membrane of the paper and the sensitivity of the ink make these images contrarily permanent, frozen in time, and ephemeral. Beyond the paper itself, Hernández’s choreographies of images also gesture toward our shared humanity. Obsessively cataloguing and arranging these images, Hernández creates a kind of visual encyclopedia of various moments—both catastrophic and rather ordinary—that define contemporary human life.

The collages presented at MOCAD include both pre-existing works from the series as well as new compositions that Hernández has made for the exhibition related to the city of Detroit. Architectures abandoned and left; the faces of dozens of politicians peering furtively at their watches; car crashes and small-scale catastrophes. Hernández’s appropriation of these mundane images transforms them with great unease into a tapestry of uncertainty, ambiguity, and intrigue.

As part of:

DETROIT CITY is comprised of three concurrent series: Detroit Affinities (exhibition), Detroit Speaks (education), and Detroit Stages (performance). This multi-year research program is one of the most ambitious undertakings to date at MOCAD.

Press for Jonathan Hernández
"'Vulnerabilia' at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit unites us in scenes tragic and trivial"
Rosie Sharp
Knight Arts Blog, October 12, 2015


Dor Guez: The Sick Man of Europe: The Architect
Friday, October 16, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Dor Guez
Dor Guez, The Architect, Scanogram 4 (2015) from The Sick Man of Europe. Archival inkjet print, 150 x 200 cm (59 x 79 in).

In The Sick Man of Europe, Jerusalem-born artist Dor Guez focuses on the plight of marginalized communities in the Middle East. The five-part work by Guez, of mixed Christian-Palestinian and Jewish-Tunisian heritage, reflects on the military history of the Middle East through the creative practices of individual soldiers from the region. "The Sick Man of Europe" was first used in the mid-19th century to describe the Ottoman Empire, but has since been applied at one time or another to nearly every country in Europe and the Middle East. For his installation at MOCAD, Guez appropriates the proverbial "Sick Man" by reconstructing him as an individual and an allegory. Caught in the crosshairs of history, the "Sick Man" blurs the categories of perpetrator and victim, soldier and citizen. "The DEPE Space project space gives artists who work with social issues a platform for larger meaningful conversations to happen with our communities. We are looking forward to having Dor in our museum for this purpose as he is one of the most thoughtful and thought provoking artists working today," says Elysia Borowy-Reeder, MOCAD Executive Director.

Dor Guez
Dor Guez, The Architect, Scanogram 3 (2015) from The Sick Man of Europe. Archival inkjet print, 45 x 65 cm (18 x 26 in).

The installation on view at MOCAD, The Architect, tells the story of Kemal P., an architecture student recruited into the Turkish army on the eve of World War II. In a video installation - the centerpiece of the exhibition - a much older Kemal looks back on the young architect's life as the Ottoman Empire transforms into the Republic of Turkey. After the end of World War II and the death of President Atatürk, Kemal P. never works as an architect. The exhibition also shows a number of 'scanograms' as well as an architect's flat file cabinet of photographs of soldiers collected by Kemal P. over the years.

Guez's construction of the "Sick Man" narrative reflects tensions between eastern religious and western secular cultures in such liminal geographies as Israel ("villa in the jungle") and Turkey ("the gate to Asia"). Each work on display shows how written history often clashes with narratives of different individuals. The project metaphorically flips the reading of the history of the Middle East from an oversimplified meta-narrative to a nuanced multitudinous chorus of personal stories in a region in which military service is compulsory for all able-bodied men. "The Sick Man of Europe is Dor's most ambitious project to date," says curator Chelsea Haines. "We are thrilled to have the U.S. premiere in Detroit."

Dor Guez
Dor Guez, The Architect (2015) from The Sick Man of Europe. Installation view at Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, March 5 - May 6, 2015.

Dor Guez is an artist and a scholar who lives in Jaffa. In 2009, he established the Christian Palestinian Archive, which is devoted to this minority. Guez's work has been the subject of over 25 solo exhibitions worldwide, with his most recent at the ICA in London. Past solo exhibitions have been held at The Rose Art Museum in Boston, Artpace, San Antonio, The Mosaic Rooms, Centre for Contemporary Arab Culture, London, The KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Guez's work has been included in numerous international exhibitions and biennials including the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul; 17th and 18th International Contemporary Art Festival, Videobrasil, São Paulo; the 3rd Moscow International Biennale, Moscow; Biennale Benin, Cotonou; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and MAXXI Museum, Rome. Guez also serves as Head of the Photography Department at the Bezalel School of Art and Design, Jerusalem. His research project on archives, Pre-Israeli Orientalism, is due to appear this coming year.

Dor Guez
Dor Guez, The Architect (2015) from The Sick Man of Europe. Video still.

Dor Guez
Dor Guez, The Architect (2015) from The Sick Man of Europe. Video still.

The Sick Man of Europe exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and is curated by Chelsea Haines. This exhibition has been developed in conversation with dialogue partners MOCAD Senior Curator at Large and Deputy Director of The Jewish Museum in New York Jens Hoffmann and the MOCAD Education Department.

Image Credits: Courtesy of the artist, Dvir Gallery, and MOCAD

The video work The Sick Man of Europe: The Architect was supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and CCA Tel Aviv.

Press for The Sick Man of Europe: The Architect

"The Sick Man"
Suzanne Chessler, Detroit Jewish News, November 19, 2015
PDF Available Here

Dor Guez's Sick Man of Europe is made possible by Artis.


Exhibition programming support is generously provided by the Taubman Foundation.

DETROIT CITY funding is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Kayne Foundation (Ric & Suzanne Kayne and Jenni, Maggie & Saree), Quicken Loans, Andre Sakhai, Liz and Jonathan Goldman, Jane Suitor, Scholar Property LTD, Jasmin Tsou, the Krawiecki Gazes Family, Kimberly Brown, and William Leung.

Detroit Speaks funding is provided by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.