The MMK Museum für moderne Kunst was cooperating with the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA) in Argentina on what has been one of the largest exhibitions in its history. Entitled “A Tale of Two Worlds” and financed through the Federal Cultural Foundation’s “Global Museum” programme, the exhibition presented significant works from the MMK collection in fruitful dialogue with key works of Latin American art. The exhibition featured some 500 pieces from private and public collections by more than 100 artists from Latin America, the United States and Europe. The show opened in Frankfurt in November 2017 and then went on to Buenos Aires in a revised version starting in July 2018.
The exhibition aimed to encourage dialogue between two different artistic currents: the European/North American canon, represented by outstanding works of American and German pop art and Minimal art in the MMK collection, and experimental artworks from Latin America. While most of the featured works from the MMK collection were produced in the 1960s and 1970s, the Latin American works span an even longer period. The oldest works dated back to 1944, the year Concrete Art first appeared in Argentina, and the most recent pieces were produced in the late 1980s, marking the fall of Latin America’s military dictatorships.
The close collaboration between the curators of MAMBA and MMK played an integral role in this project. In an intensive working process, they developed an exhibition which not only highlighted the relationship between individual pieces, but also compared entire decades of art with one another.
The perspectives of two continents and cultures provided visitors an opportunity to view the MMK collection in a new light. Although the exhibited works were created under varying political, economic and historical circumstances, the exhibition in Frankfurt revealed remarkable parallels in their development, points of intersection and inherent contradictions. The organisers hoped that the exhibition would encourage debate about the solutions offered by the artists in response to their respective socio-political situations in their home countries.
For both museums, the exhibition served as an important stepping stone for reconsidering thematic standpoints, collection traditions and recent art-historical developments.