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Speaker: Patricio del Real, Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Moderated by: José Lira, Professor of Architecture, Universidade de São Paulo and Visiting Professor 2022-23, Princeton University
Professor del Real will present his latest book, Constructing Latin America. Architecture, Politics, and Race at the Museum of Modern Art. A nuanced look at how the Museum of Modern Art’s carefully curated treatment of Latin American architecture promoted U.S. political, economic, and cultural interests. In the interwar period and immediately following World War II, the U.S. government promoted the vision of a modern, progressive, and democratic Latin America and worked to cast the region as a partner in the fight against fascism and communism. This effort was bolstered by the work and products of many institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Using modern architecture to imagine a Latin America under postwar U.S. leadership, MoMA presented blockbuster shows, including Brazil Builds (1943) and Latin American Architecture since 1945 (1955), that deployed racially coded aesthetics and emphasized the confluence of “Americanness” and “modernity” in a globalizing world. Delving into the heated debates of the period and presenting never-before-published internal documents and photos from the museum and the Nelson A. Rockefeller archives, Patricio del Real is the first to fully address MoMA’s role in U.S. cultural imperialism and its consequences through its exhibitions on Latin American art and architecture.
Patricio del Real is an architectural historian who works on modern architecture and its transnational connections with a focus on the Americas. His new book, Constructing Latin America: Architecture, Politics, and Race at the Museum of Modern Art, examines multiple architecture exhibitions and MoMA as a cultural weapon. It looks at the museum’s Department of Architecture and Design as it navigated the thorny politics of Pan Americanism and the cultural conflicts of the second postwar era. He is Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.
Presented in collaboration with the Harvard Department of History of Art and Architecture