Latin Kinetic And Op Art Artists At El Museo Del B...

Latin Kinetic And Op Art Artists At El Museo Del Barrio

My walk through New York’s El Museo del Barrio’s riveting optical exhibition The Illusive Eye was a dizzying and uplifting experience. The show functions as a direct response to an exhibition at the MoMA in 1965 titled The Responsive Eye, which showcased European kinetic and op art artists while disregarding the progressive and visually similar art created in Latin America during the same time.

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Artist Mariana Apollonio in her “Spazio ad Attivazione Cinetica.” Photo: Getty Images

As my eyes moved around the four sections, they followed the lines of Jesús Rafael Soto’s vertigo-inducing objects, got caught in Julio Le Parc’s weightless glass sculptures and Gregorio Vardanega spinning Ritmo Alegre. I was transported through galleries dedicated to the “Optical Sublime” to “Mandalas and Dervishes.” Mariana Apollonio’s installation Spazio ad Attivazione Cinetica 6B captured me in its own room, deceiving my eyes with its black and white, seemingly three-dimensional circles. The last section “Kinetic cascades” showcases the resplendent work by Carlos Cruz-Diez Transchromie Dames A, the translucent panels finally giving my eyes a point of focus.

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“Seis Formas en Dos Circunferencias (Six Forms in Two Circumferences),” Eduardo Mac Entyre. Photo: Eduardo Mac Entyre

Executive Director and curator of the show Jorge Daniel Veneciano excellently juxtaposes artists of the earlier 1965 show with their Latin American counterparts to emphasize the similarities in artistic production even further. With Josef Albers’ Study Homage to the Square: Growing Mellow alongside Hermelindo Fiaminghi’s Cor-Luz Sperposiçao de Quadros em Transparencia, these masters are truly being recognized in the context of the art historical canon after 51 years.

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“Cubo Y Extension,” Jesus Rafael Soto. Photo: El Museo del Barrio

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Victor Vasarely. Photo: El Museo del Barrio

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“Nebulosa,” Ernesto Briel. Photo: El Museo del Barrio

The Illusive Eye will be on view at El Museo del Barrio until May 21st 2016.


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Adriana Pauly is a curator and art writer with a MFA in Contemporary Art, based in New York. She specializes in artwork by emerging female artists as well as Latin American art. She has been published by Missy Magazine, Autre Magazine and is currently the Content Coordinator of Art Report.