Collection in a New Light
A Tale of Two Worlds at MMK in Frankfurt

Two gigantic brushstrokes on a raster background—Roy Lichtenstein’s Yellow and Green Brushstrokes (1966) is an ironic commentary on the portentous gestures of Abstract Expressionism. The 84 x 180 inch painting is one of the most important works in the collection of the Frankfurt MMK museum. Lichtenstein’s brushstrokes were the result of meticulous preparations: He sketched the motif and then transferred it to the wall via projection and raster technology. A few years previously, the Argentinian Kenneth Kemble had also processed Abstract Expressionism. While Lichtenstein transferred his brushstrokes to the canvas in bright green and yellow, in Kemble’s work they are composed of innumerable small black dabs of paint. But the North and South American artists have one thing in common: They both used working methods that are diametrically opposed to the spontaneous painting the Abstract Expressionists employed to express their inner lives.

Such correspondences are explored in the exhibition A Tale of Two Worlds, which presents experimental Latin American art of the 1940s to 1980s in dialog with the collection of MMK. The show was conceived by MMK curator Klaus Görner in cooperation with Victoria Noorthoorn and Javier Villa, the director and senior curator, respectively, of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA), where the project will be shown in 2018. Noorthoorn is on the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council, which suggests the “Artist of the Year.” In 2013/14, her exhibition The Circle Walked Casually was mounted at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle. For the show, around 130 works on paper from the Deutsche Bank Collection were suspended in a white, seemingly infinite space.

A Tale of Two Worlds reflects a profound change in art discourse, which in recent years has opened up to non-Western artists, curators, and theoreticians. The canon is changing, expanded by positions from South America, Asia, and Africa. This is demonstrated by Tate Modern’s new presentation of its collection as well as the art at the Deutsche Bank Towers in Frankfurt, where since 2011 works by 100 artists from 44 countries across the globe have been on display.

The presentation, which extends over MMK’s entire exhibition space, encompasses 500 works by more than 100 artists from Latin America, the USA, and Europe. It includes such disparate positions as Hélio Oiticica, Cildo Meireles, Ana Mendieta, Blinky Palermo, Andy Warhol, and Karl Otto Götz. The interwoven perspectives of two continents and cultures enable the museum to see its own collection in a completely new light. Although the works on exhibit were created under myriad political and social conditions, the exhibition repeatedly illustrates parallel developments, as well as differences and breaches.

A Tale of Two Worlds
Experimental Latin American Art of the 1940s to 1980s in dialog with the collection of MMK
MMK 1, Frankfurt a. M.
11/25/2017 – 4/2/2018