The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), in collaboration with the Museo Jumex in Mexico City and the Museo de Arte de Lima, presents Memories of Underdevelopment as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA from September 17, 2017 through January 21, 2018. The ambitious exhibition gathers approximately 400 objects from more than 50 artists working in eight countries throughout Latin America.
Memories of Underdevelopment is set within the context of Latin America during the 1960s to 1980s, a period that coincides with both the apex and unraveling of the developmentalist project in many countries in the region, most notably Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico.
In contrast to dominant ideologies that guided the modernization process in these countries, Memories of Underdevelopment traces the emergence of a distinct set of artistic practices that questioned the developmentalist rhetoric and proposed alternative forms of cultural production that responded to this situation of cultural and economic dependency. The exhibition identifies an epistemic break from the modern, a counter-narrative of underdevelopment, which reflected the desire to decolonize from imposed cultural and aesthetic canons. Collectively, the works presented in the exhibition reveal this trope of underdevelopment as a platform to rethink artistic production throughout Latin America.
Memories of Underdevelopment showcases conceptual and performance artworks that subvert artistic norms and redefine avant-garde practice outside the established centers of the art world. Searching for alternatives to museum-based exhibition practices, the artists in this exhibition sought to engage directly with local communities, often incorporating popular
strategies from film, architecture, and theater, and grappling with political oppression. The exhibition will shed new light on well-known artists such as Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Pape, as well as lesser-known artists in Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru. Memories of Underdevelopment brings together artistic practices that, although evidently related, have until now been treated separately.
The exhibition will travel to the Museo Jumex in Mexico City from March 15, 2018 through August 26, 2018, and to the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI) in Peru from November 20, 2018 through February 23, 2019. In conjunction with the exhibition, MCASD will produce a companion publication to situate these artists within broader regional, national, and international contexts while demonstrating the unique and deeply influential impact of the work.