May 17, 2002

Fundación Cisneros Launches Innovative Website Exploring Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art

The Fundación Cisneros, a Caracas-based philanthropic organization dedicated to the future of Latin America, announces the launch of an innovative Website based on the Colección Cisneros, which includes a major collection of modern Latin American art. The Website is the most recent of the Fundación’s ongoing efforts to bring the achievements of Latin American artists to a global audience, and to use the visual arts as a basis for rich educational experiences. Located at, the site is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, co-founder and chairman of the Fundación Cisneros, says, “The new Website based on the Colección Cisneros fulfills two of the core missions of the Fundación: bringing Latin American culture to audiences everywhere, and belying the provincialism so often —and mistakenly— associated with that culture. We hope that the site will reveal to users of all ages the sophistication and complexity of modern and contemporary Latin American art, increasing as well visitors’ knowledge of the history of modern art in general.”

Colección Cisneros

A core visual arts program of the Fundación Cisneros, the Colección Cisneros contains some 1,500 works, consisting primarily of modern and contemporary art, with an emphasis on Latin America, and including Latin American landscapes from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries and Colonial Latin American art. The works in the Colección show that modern art from Latin America, which has so often been associated with either folk art or the figurative tradition represented by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and their colleagues, developed and continues to exist in an international context that includes avant-garde European and North American movements.

Among the artists whose work is represented in the Colección and on its Website are Carmelo Arden Quin (Argentina), Waltercio Caldas (Brazil), Lygia Clark (Brazil), Gego (Venezuela), Alfredo Hlito (Argentina), Matta (Chile), Vik Muniz (Brazil), Alejandro Otero (Venezuela), Jesús Rafael Soto (Venezuela), and Joaquín Torres-García (Uruguay).

The Website

To encourage engagement with key aesthetic ideas and creative processes, the Website invites visitors to explore 166 works of art by 103 artists from the Colección Cisneros. It was conceived as a set of experiences that invite dynamic exploration, and presents the visual arts in an integrated way that blends education, imagination, and creativity; explorations can be as deep or as wide-ranging as the visitor chooses.

One way of accessing the works is through an array of resources and activities that concentrate on six interactive themes: “Memory,” “Perception,” “Place,” “Structures,” “Traces,” and “Utopia.” In “Structures,” for example, visitors learn about distinctive innovations made by Latin American artists, such as Arden Quin, Gego, and Hlito. They may examine representative works, see images of the artists, and expand their understanding —and enjoyment— of composition by constructing their own mobiles.

A section titled “Artists & Works” includes examples of twenty-nine artworks from the seventeenth century to the present day, with particular emphasis on artistic production in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Venezuela from the 1930s to the 1960s. Each page in this section showcases a representative work of art (a “zoom” button allows detailed examination) and provides biographical information about the artists and recommended reading for further study. Relevant artistic movements, such as Neo-Concrete Art and Latin American Nativism, are also described.

A thought-provoking interactive timeline displays information on world history, providing a rich and dynamic context for the works in the Colección. Visitors may encounter more than 700 historical facts, including significant events in science, fashion, literature, politics, sports, and the performing arts, among other subjects.

The “Study” section features an interactive map through which visitors learn about the flow of ideas between key cities in Europe and the Americas, and about how the exchange informed and was informed by many of the artists whose work is included in the Colección Cisneros. Cities include Barcelona, Caracas, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Stuttgart, and Venice, among others.

Other highlights of this section are a glossary of terms that relate specifically to art from Latin America, an in-depth bibliography, examples of primary writings by artists (such as letters and manifestoes, many of which are available in translation for the first time online), and an extensive study guide to assist young visitors.

The Fundación Cisneros was founded by Patricia Cisneros, Gustavo Cisneros, and Ricardo Cisneros, in association with the Cisneros Group of Companies. The Caracas-based foundation initiates and supports a wide range of innovative programs, focusing on issues in the areas of education, culture, the environment, and community and humanitarian services, and on increasing global awareness of contemporary Latin America. According to its president, Pedro R. Tinoco, the Fundación reflects the international vision of its founders, and many of its programs are created and run in partnership with other organizations and institutions.

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