The following review of “United States of Latin America,” appeared in Flash Art International issue #305. The exhibition was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit from September 18 – January 3, 2015.
The United States of Latin America, a group show curated by Jens Hoffman and Pablo León de la Barra at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, features over thirty artists from fifteen different Latin American countries. Rather than adhere to a singular aesthetic, the ranging works reflect an eclectic conversation that pushes and pulls through the soup of colonialism, global economics, violence, play, tradition, and mythology. Efectos de Familia (Family Effects), a video by Edgardo Aragón, presents episodes of pre-adolescent boys performing ambiguous, ritualistic actions such as throwing sand at one another or playing chicken with an SUV. Nearby, Gabriel Sierra’s sculptural assemblage, Sin titular (Untitled)—a red apple bisected by an American dollar bill—slowly rots on a shelf. ForNadie sabe la sed con que otra bebe (No One Knows the Thirst with Which Another Drinks), Nicolas Consuegra installed three bedroom-sized mirror panels that bisect five upright drinking glasses where they stand on the floor. Consuegra’s title asserts one can never fully understand another’s experience while literally reflecting the entire exhibition in reverse. The show encapsulates a self-reflexive interaction of objects, resisting a conclusive aesthetic argument in favor of critical attention and transition. Renata Lucas’ mailbox installation, Invisible Man, creates a direct line of communication between the interior exhibition space and the exterior world. Additionally one hears the Spanish voice over from Elena Damiani’s 2014 film, Intersticio (Interstice) echoing throughout the gallery from where it screens in a dark corner room. The cinematic essay includes lush still images of variant landscapes, animals, and an astronaut combined with English subtitles. Here Damiani emphasizes movement and contrast, reinforcing the dedicated openness present throughout the rest of the show: “all appears out of place” says the voice, “but from this place / I do not need to arrive yet.”