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Five pictorial avant-gardes and their references in Latin America

Latin American art of the 20s and 30s of the 20th century will undergo a profound avant-garde renovation. From the first productions at the beginning of the century, to the most contemporary of recent decades, artists are inspired by the formal and aesthetic changes introduced by European trends.

Similarly, Latin American artists will reread their social and political realities and from here they will project a work vindicating a national culture. Sometime later, a break with the Eurocentrist academicism is sought, while the construction of a cultural identity begins. Here are some of the most representative avant-garde:


Between the decade of the ’20s and’ 30s, Latin American artists travel to Europe and make contact with the avant-garde movements. They actively participate in circuits of exhibitions and debates in cities such as Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Berlin, Florence, and Milan.

His works and manifestos insist on the autonomy of art and move away from painting and sculpture as modes of representation of reality. During the 20s, many of them return to their countries of origin and as protagonists of the national scenes, lead the different battles between the traditional and the “new.”

The Neocriollo of Xul Solar (Buenos Aires), the Anthropogy of Tarsila do Amaral (San Pablo), as well as the Vibracionismo and the constructive Universalism of Rafael Barradas and Joaquín Torres-García (Montevideo), are only key examples of those avant-gardes of Latin American regional currencies.

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The Neocriollo of Xul Solar / Source: .ar


With the triumph of the Russian revolution and the expansion of the principles of social justice, the art / political axis is affirmed as a field of action, regionally and internationally. From the Mexican muralism of Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros to the paintings of Antonio Berni (Argentina) and Candido Portinari (Brazil), painters discuss and propose different ways of relating between artistic manifestations and their social contexts.

Walls are painted with contemporary scenarios, in which images of rural and urban workers appear, in monumental pictorial formats, like the characters of a protest march social or in celebrations of popular tradition. In the visits to the pre-Columbian ruins such as the Temple of the Jaguars in Chichen-Itza, the muralists become aware that America had its own muralism and techniques, having a lot of evidence about the walls of the cities before the Conquest were covered in murals.

Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera / Source:


This literary and plastic movement explored the field of dreams, psychological traumas and sought to evade conscious activity through practices such as free association and psychic automatism and the use of factors such as chance and randomness. To stimulate the emergence of the unconscious, he uses techniques that summon unusual effects and uncontrollable processes such as photomontage, collage, frottage, decoupage or scarfing.

Antonio Berni and, Maria Martins and Cicero Dias, Roberto Matta, Frida Kahlo, Remedios Vario, Agustín Lazo and Wifredo Lam show in their works the diversity of those theses and a meeting place of popular traditions with repertoires of cult art circulating in the Americas.

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Las dos Fridas / Frida Kahlo / Source:


In the mid-40s, Buenos Aires became one of the most active centers of concrete art and its variations. Gyula Kosice and Enio Lommi, Rhod Rothfuss and Carmelo Arden Quin bring new ways of reflection and production to the global debate of concretism. With the material elements of visual language, their works replace the traditional octagonal frame with irregular and cut out contours; investigate the function of color layers and the system of series structures; they invent articulated and transformable “sculptures”, and make object-paintings mounted on the walls and mobiles hanging in space.

In the 50s, Alejandro Otero paints his series of white abstractions with chromatic lines in Caracas, and Brazilians Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark convert color and light into bodies that materialize before the viewer. In the same decade and the next, Julio Le Parc and Abraham Palatnik build artifacts that investigate the physical and perceptual experience of the gaze, adding the concept of real or illusory movement and the active participation of the viewer, both innovations of optical and kinetic art.

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Alejandro Otero/ Source:

Conceptual art

The last two decades of the century had dismantled the idea of ​​the work of art as a material presence and as merchandise. Industrial materials, scientific models, reflections of areas such as psychoanalysis, linguistics, cultural studies and communication codes imposed by the mass media, all traverse the world of visual arts. The works of Antonio Seguí, León Ferrari, Liliana Porter, Víctor Grippo, Waltercio Caldas, and Gego, are some of those cases. Since the early ’80s, the return to painting as an international trend impacts the artistic scene.

The Italian Transvanguardia, Bad Painting in the United States, the Neofiguration in Latin countries and the New Image in Argentina, put into circulation large fabrics covered with faces and pictorial images that combine codes of cinema, theater, literature, art music, dance, urban graffiti, and gender studies. This “resurrection” of the painting finds two key actors in the Argentine Guillermo Kuitca and the Cuban José Bedia.

Distinguishing art tourism from cultural tourism

Automatically, a large cultural tourism destination is usually associated with a museum. Paris and the Louvre, London and the National Gallery, New York, and the MET. Without going any further, the latest data recorded by the Prado Museum indicate that 60.96% of visits are foreign. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art of Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), promotes the same effect.

Art tourism as a new field of tourism studies is currently obscured under cultural tourism’s voluminous bounds – which are as inappropriate as they are unwieldy and overloaded.

However, properly separated, elaborated and developed forms of tourism must be identified. For many, cultural tourism is a market where the orientation of tourists prevails to learn or experience first hand the cultural specificity of any given destination.

While this is true for many activities often included in cultural tourism, it is certainly not the case for visitors to art museums. That is why art tourism arises to separate cultural attractions, and more specifically museums, according to the theme and the experiences offered.

There are those who come to Miami for its beaches and walks, but also who goes for that southern cuisine that has so many versions in this city. But especially in recent years, Miami has become the playground of artists, collectors, critics, gallery owners and occasional buyers who make all their fantasies come true in the form of canvas, steel, digital installation or spray.

With dozens of museums and private collections and fairs and galleries in all neighborhoods, the city has become an influential place in the world calendar of art. In the last fifteen years, the arrival of Art Basel was decisive, since it transformed Miami into a cultural destination where the world’s great architects have already raised global symbols.

Ascaso Gallery

Among the veteran venues, the Rubell Family Collection, one of the largest private collections of contemporary art in the world, which holds works by international artists known to all as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons or Keith Haring.

Located in the Wynwood Arts District, the Ascaso Gallery has led to represent Latin American teachers such as Jesús Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz Diez, Luis Tomasello, Victor Vasarely, Victor Valera, Dario Pérez Flores, Oswaldo Vigas, Julio Larraz, Fernando Botero , among others.

The Ascaso collection also includes memorable figures such as Jim Dine, Jeff Koons, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Salvador Dalí, Manolo Valdés, Tom Otterness, Roberto Matta, and Wilfredo Lam.

While it is true that art is very extensive and today can fall into the dilemma between being a transformative element of societies or a new category of consumption, tourism has been seized for benefits not only economic but also social and conservation of the heritage, creating “unique” experiences through tourism products that in many cases are made up of works of art taken as cultural resources.

From museums, art galleries, cultural events, to craft markets and urban art in the avenues. All these used to generate an image of a particular destination. Whether through new museums, emerging neighborhoods or art fairs, Miami has managed to position itself among the most important art cities in the world. And all this without giving up its authenticity and its roots, making mixing and convergence its main cement.

In recent years consecrated artists arrived in Wynwood, who not only dominate the technique, but also the business, such as the Venezuelan Cruz Diez, master of kinetic art. And the Brazilian Romero Brito, controversial and controversial, but with shops, galleries and public works of art throughout the city.

Three shows to visit this weekend

The Wynwood Art District is one of the neighborhoods that concentrates high-level artistic spaces dedicated to street art and modern and contemporary art.

In the style of many cities around the world, the Wynwood art district of Miami has positioned itself as the mecca of the country’s graffiti walls.

If you want to discover emerging and innovative artists from Miami in the artistic area of Wynwood, we bring you three recommendations of exhibitions and shows that you can visit in the environment of this exciting artistic community located in an old industrial area.

Wet paint Miami

As the first itinerant group exhibition of the California-based artist, Dave Persue, in collaboration with more than 70 graffiti artists, WET PAINT MIAMI marks the group’s first presentation, after shows in the main art capitals in the world. Composed of the distinctive “Wet Paint” signs, the show also serves as an opportunity for the launch of a limited edition WET PAINT MIAMI clothing capsule collection with themes for the city.

The exhibition that opened on February 1 and will remain open to the public until April 1, 2020, includes collectible pieces of the artist Persue’s career, well respected in the international graffiti scene, both for his lyrics and for his famous BunnyKitty street art character.

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Works on paper

Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present Works on Paper: Richard Deutsch | Caio Fonseca | Regina Scully, an expected exhibition whose objective stands out in presenting a set of graphite and ink works on paper by sculptor Richard Deutsch, two gouache works on paper by Caio Fonseca and two unique works, as well as one Special selection of Regina Scully pigment prints. The sample will be available throughout February until the 29th.

Deutsch, an American sculptor, works primarily in the minimalist and expressionist genres although his work ranges from small table pieces to multi-story sculptures. He is widely known for his large-scale architectural and environmental projects. For its part, Fonseca is known for his lyrical and abstract paintings that explore the interaction of form and hue. Regina Scully has worked in different fields, from plastic arts to digital production.


Atomic color

Also at the Octavia Gallery, the audience can enjoy ATOMIC COLOR, a vibrant exhibition featuring a selection of notable works by Charlie Edmiston, Kurt Herrmann, and Greta Van Campen.

Colorful paintings with hard edges, large-scale murals and bold design graphics, lettering, and geometric shapes make up the essence of this colorful and exquisite sample. Figurative and abstract works, with sensory stimuli radiating throughout the entire color range, they give free rein through their designated space in the Octavia Gallery. Dare to experience ATOMIC COLOR, only available until February 29th.


‘Roots were built with clay’: Sculpting in Latin America

Latin American art has been making some of the most significant contributions to contemporary sculpture. One could make the case that artists from Latin America have been making some of the most significant contributions to sculpture in contemporary art history for about half-century

Although Latin America is a kind of patchwork quilt, that is, with many isolated countries and with few communications with each other and despite the fact that in each country there are sometimes many regions comparable to many other countries, it may not be risky to say that in Latin American sculpture found a few common aspects over a hundred years.

Here are five great contemporary Latin American sculptors:


Fernando Botero – Colombia.

Botero is a Colombian painter, sculptor, and draftsman born in 1932 in Medellín. After spending several years in Europe, he established his residence in New York. He currently has residences in various parts of the world: Colombia, Paris or the Italian town of Pietrasanta are some of them. He is considered one of the most sought-after Latin American artists of the moment.

With unmistakable hallmarks, such as their voluptuous and disproportionate human bodies, their works are exhibited in the most important cultural Capitals of the world.

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Fernando Botero – Donna Seduta con Mela, 2012 Edition of 6 Bronze 14.5 x 11 x 14.5 in. | 37 x 28 x 37 cm
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Cat, 2003 Bronze, Edition of 6 8.6 x 27.5 x 7.8 in.

Carlos Regazzoni – Argentina.

Carlos Regazzoni was born in 1943. He is currently consecrated in France, where he lives half the year in the castle of Fontaine Française.

His sculptural work is characterized by being made with leftover tracks and pieces of disused wagons, hence he has earned the title of ‘alternative artist’.

Regazzoni has also worked with insects, almost always ants with which he decorated several posters of Libertador Avenue in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Retiro.

Francisco Narvaez – Venezuela

Narváez was born in Porlamar, Margarita Island, Nueva Esparta State, in Venezuela on October 4, 1905. His artistic proposal broke with the aesthetic schemes in force until that time. However, it did not make concessions of any order, creating for the first time in the country its own sculptural language, associated with national roots, exalting and also valuing the beauty of its ethnic elements.

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Francisco Narvaez – Maternidad, 1950 Vaciado 31.4 x 14.9 x 29.1 in.
Francisco Narvaez -Cabeza, 1970 Direct carving on wood 18 x 7 x 7 in.
Francisco Narvaez -Cabeza, 1969 Bronze 20 x 9 x 11 in.

Julio Larraz – Cuba

Larraz’s paintings and sculptures can be admired in all its expressive dimension. The conception and cleanliness of the space remove everything that can get in the way between the viewer and the artwork. The sum of all these attributes makes it a space that will revolutionize the exhibition dynamics of the contemporary art circuit.

Gabriel Orozco – Mexican

Mexican-born Gabriel Orozco incorporates a multitude of different media—from drawings to installations, to photography, sculptures. His aesthetic vocabulary is related to the artistic traditions of his native Mexico, and Marcel Duchamp’s readymades. The fragile relationship of everyday objects to one another and to human beings is Orozco’s principal subject and has inspired partly by Asian pictorial traditions and partly by the nuances of everyday perception.

Cornelis Zitman – Venezuela

Cornelis Zitman was born on November 9, 1926 in Leiden, the Netherlands. It came from a family of artisans and builders. At 21, he settled in Venezuela. Zitman made his work on the human figure, fundamentally feminine and Venezuelan.

The Zitman house was a space for creation and for expressing his personal interpretation of the surrounding reality. A place that became the center of his activity and his refuge, until he was surrounded by his “tribe”, which are all his sculptures and the works he did.

The sculpting of Julio Larraz

The dreamlike atmospheres and a surrealist imaginary are no stranger to Julio Larraz, much less for his work. His paintings of fantastic objects arranged in impossible circumstances, the use of bright colors contrasting with ethereal and nominal tapestries, and the exercise of allegories and symbolism in his work, have captivated a remarkable and loyal audience for more than three decades.

However, the political cartoonist has developed in more than one artistic discipline, demonstrating creative versatility following the nature and the language of his message. Provided with a sharp ingenuity and intellectual rigor Larraz has used sculpture as an alternative means of production.

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La Giralda, ©2016 Bronze, 2/6 + 2AP 50 x 28.75 x 24 in. 127 x 73 x 61 cm
Julio Larraz 44
Retrofit, ©2019 Aluminum, 1/3 + 2AP 96 x 58 x 74.5 in. 243,8 x 147,3 x 189,2 cm

Working from the essence of both everyday and unusual materials, Larraz’s sculptures are punitive comments about politics, identity, sociology, psychoanalysis, and the process of perception, exploring a gallery of objects that collide force and time between the limits of reality and the subconscious.

In each of these sculptures, the human mind is the eloquent protagonist. Reminiscent of movements such as dada works such as ‘The Sovereign’ (2017) seeks to explore the possibilities functions of the symbiosis of everyday objects arranged in unconventional situations.

The object is closer to a statement than to a pictorial style, ironic about its role in society. Even when playing with certain iconoclastic nuances, the object seeks new typologies for the sculptural work by forcing the limits of the aesthetic.

Julio Larraz manufactures specific facilities using materials such as bronze or aluminum but letting the form function as the driving force behind his sculptural compositions, which often recall organic structures, familiar and everyday objects, and even the human anatomy seen from the perception of classical greek sculpture

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Legend of the Hudson, ©2007 Bronze, 1/3 + 2AP 87.5 x 72 x 33 in. 222 x 183 x 84 cm

Symbols allow mediating between the visible and the invisible, the concrete and the abstract. Larraz, is not only one of the most representative artists of the neo-figurative painting panorama of the 20th and 21st century but also a gifted craftsman.

There are many ways to classify people. One of them is to distinguish those who see the landscape from those who transfigure it so that we see it differently. Larraz belongs to the second category, but in a very peculiar sense. He is a storyteller and a materializer of the confines of thought.


The theory of ‘how to make it’

Breaking into the art business can be a difficult task. Moreover, when you don’t have an overview of how the market works. Some emerging artists usually have little experience in sales or exhibitions and often struggle to find doors that open.

At first glance, it seems that the answer is simple and unique: networking. Knowing the right people will always be the master key in any item. By contrast, reach out to a gallery without prior notice and without invitation is a quick route to nowhere.

However, the true path is a bit more complex than that. So how can you start working with a reputable art gallery? Here is a list of some steps that can lead an artist to work with a successful showcase:

female artist painting with palette and 2VN5XBZ
Ascaso Gallery

Explore the field.

Research what type of galleries best suits the style that characterizes your work. Analyze if this is a good complement to your work and level of experience. Remember that a gallery is not just a gallery, but represents the creative and communicational vision of someone’s subconscious. Take the time to study the movements that best suit certain galleries before you even think about submitting your work.

Gallerists are creative agents in themselves. They have strong interests and aesthetics. They are the best teachers to balance inspiration and rationality. Learn from them.

occupation of artist PGNULGH

Connect with your gallery

For better or worse, the main way in which galleries choose artists is through relationships, so it is usual that the artist is first known and then supported by his work, although not always they will know someone who knows someone with influences on the ambit.

Hence, it is important that if you find a gallery whose style connects with your work, you develop a relationship with them, attend their events, sign up for their newsletter, and follow them on their social networks. Become known within their community as a supporter. This is the best way to put yourself under any gallery’s spotlight.

Study shipping policies.

Knowing the shipping policy of a gallery is easy. Check your website and see if it is published. If not, call them and ask. Or better yet, try visiting the gallery in person. If they say they don’t accept shipments, then you have your answer. Do not send your work anyway. If you accept shipments, follow their guidelines to the letter.


Boost up your work.

Many artists resort to the non-modest phrase: “My work speaks for itself” when it comes to promoting themselves before a gallery. The really advisable thing is to be interested enough in your own work, just to have a word about your own work, and thus, encourage others to get involved.

It should be noted that there is not a single formula for success, although putting into practice each one of these tips leads to a high possibility that your work can achieve an alliance with the gallery of your choice. Make sure your work is ready, that you have perfected your trade and you are showing the best you can do.

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