Building a Continent: The Museum of Modern Art and the Politics of Circulating Images

by Patricio Del Real

Jan 1, 2010
I visited the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) to do research on three general areas pertaining to my dissertation on modern Latin American architecture in the 1950s, a project I am developing in the Architecture History and Theory Program in the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. An important case study in my examination of modern Latin American architecture and its representation is the exhibition Latin American Architecture since 1945, held in New York in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). My hypothesis is that modern architecture provided a new spatial conception for the imagined community called "Latin America;" that it constructed Latin America through iconographic images of paradigmatic architectural projects in a dynamic exchange between actual buildings and their representation, and that in assembling this transnational territory it wove aesthetic forms onto development policies and Cold War politics. My goal was to study several archival collections at the RAC in order to unravel the relationship between representation, politics, and aesthetics.
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