A Tale of Two Worlds features more than 500 artworks by 100 artists across 16 differently themed sections taking up all four floors of the Moderno.
In A Tale of Two Worlds, there is no hierarchy of artistic movements, there are no ‘contributions’ or ‘additions’, there are just two powerful artistic currents: European and North American art and Latin American art. Over time, they have flowed in parallel, come together and been at cross-purposes. They have forged autonomous identities and approaches to their different contexts and they have also grown inter-dependent, producing dialogues, collaborations, controversy and mutual rejection. In this new vision of history, Latin American art does not complete or complement the canon, neither is it merely there to provide a contrast, it is an equal brother in a relationship – both fraternal and competitive – of global, diverse, combative, and democratic art.
This exhibition sets out to establish a dialogue between canonical works of European and North American art from 1942 to 1986 from the collection of the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) and the history of experimental Latin American art from 1944 – the year when Concrete art movements first emerged in Argentina – to the end of the military dictatorships in the late 1980s. It was organized and curated by both the Museo de Arte Moderno and the MMK as part of the ‘Global Museum’ programme run by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes Foundation. A Tale of Two Worlds first opened in Frankfurt in November 2017 with a significant contribution from the Museo collection, breaking new ground for Latin American art: this is the first time that a European museum has allowed its collection to be examined by Latin American curators.
The exhibition begins by exploring the major upheavals of the 1940s, which shook the foundations of Latin American art, unleashing a powerful wave of experimentation in numerous cities across the continent. Then it moves on to examine how artists regarded their role in society and the transformative potential of art in contexts that were often ravaged by political violence. A Tale of Two Worlds thus seeks to encourage discussion of how different artists react to their socio-political environments.