In March 2010, the Terra Foundation for American Art (TFAA) visited the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (PESP) as part of a tour that included meetings with several art museums and foundations, other cultural institutions, and collectors in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Lima, Peru. During this visit, the Pinacoteca shared its idea for an exhibition that would examine landscape painting throughout the Americas, thus igniting our mutual interest in the project. Soon after, the TFAA and Pinacoteca agreed to collaborate and approached the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto to participate as the third co-organizing institution. In 2014, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, signed on as the U.S. venue for the exhibition.
The curatorial team, which includes Valéria Piccoli, Chief Curator at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; Georgiana Uhlyarik, Associate Curator of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario; and Peter John Brownlee, Curator at the Terra Foundation, began to discuss ideas for the exhibition and to consult specialists from various regions beyond Brazil, Canada, and the United States. Over the course of four convenings hosted by each of the three organizing institutions (São Paulo, April 2012; Toronto, October 2012; Chicago, May 2013; and Toronto, December 2013), the curators gathered and worked with experts and advisors from throughout the Americas (listed below). The bringing together of leading scholars in the field from both the academy and the museum—well known in their respective regions but unfamiliar with each other’s work—has been critical in the development of the checklist and publication. The curators met with individuals and visited collections in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico and in July 2013 traveled to museums and private collections in Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to see works and discuss loans.
As the exhibition’s checklist was finalized in 2014, the curators developed the concept and scope of the exhibition’s catalogue, published in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish by the organizing partners in association with Yale University Press. The curatorial team worked closely with the AGO publications department to plan, edit and implement the book’s production. Featuring nearly fifty authors from across the Americas, it is the first to bring such diverse perspectives on the topic together in one volume. In August 2015, the catalogue authors convened at the AGO. During this two day writing workshop, scholars from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Peru, and the United States discussed their individual essay contributions. The curators met again at the AGO in early 2015 to work with exhibition planners and designers, interpretative strategists and marketing specialists in making final preparations for the exhibition’s launch at the AGO in June 2015. They will meet again at the Pinacoteca in August 2015, to prepare for the exhibition’s opening there in late February 2016.
Over the course of the project the curators have engaged a network of institutions, scholars, and sponsors from across the Americas to bring this ambitious exhibition to fruition. In January 2013, the Institute of Aesthetic Research at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) invited the curatorial team to participate in the organization of its 37th annual scholarly colloquium. The premier art history conference in Latin America, the 2013 conference (Querétaro, Mexico, October 6–10, 2013) was devoted to the topic of landscape aesthetics in the Americas. Forty-five scholars from across the Americas presented papers selected from over 125 submissions, a selection of which were published in both print and digital forms in 2015.
In addition to presenting the exhibition in its earliest phases at the Pinacoteca in April 2012, the lead curators also participated in the roundtable discussion, “Curating the Art of the Americas,” as part of the conference, “Mapping: Geography, Power, and the Imagination in the Art of the Americas,” held at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, March 7–8, 2013. In July 2014, the curators attended the opening of the exhibition, Unsettled Landscapes, part of SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, organized by SITE Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In August 2015, the curators traveled to Rio de Janeiro to present the paper, “Landscape Painting in the Americas: An Inquiry” at the conference, “New Worlds: Frontiers, Inclusion, Utopias,” organized by the Brazilian Committee of Art History (CBHA), under the aegis of the Comité International de l’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA). In November 2015, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will host a two day, international symposium featuring the exhibition’s curators and a number of catalogue authors from North and South America. Plans are in development for a symposium that will take place at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo around the time of the exhibition’s opening there in February 2016.
Project Scientific Committee
- Roberto Amigo, Curator, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Natalia Majluf, Director, Museo de Arte de Lima – MALI, Peru
- Dr. Fausto Ramirez and Alberto Nulman, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico
- Dr. Katherine Manthorne, City University of New York, USA
- Dr. Charles Eldredge, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA
- Dr. Ruth Phillips, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
- Dr. John O’Brian, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
- Dr. Claudia Valladão de Mattos, Instituto de Artes, Universidade de Campinas, Brazil
- Dr. Luciano Migliaccio, Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
- Dr. Ana Maria Belluzzo, Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
the terra foundation for american art
Founded in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for audiences around the globe. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its exceptional collection of American art, which spans the colonial period to 1945 and includes nearly 800 objects. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation uses its financial resources of more than $350 million to support and collaborate on innovative exhibitions, academic programs, research, and publications internationally. As such, it is one of the leading foundations focused on the historical art of the United States. Implicit in all of these activities is the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them.