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The 5 Most Important Latin American Art Collectors

The 5 Most Important Latin American Art Collectors

Posted by Juan Gavasa on January 07, 2015

From Colombia to Brazil, and from painting to site-specific installations, Latin American art is gradually asserting its own space on the global arts scene, supported and promoted not only by artists, but also by art curators, collectors and museums. We take a look at fuve of the most important collectors of contemporary Latin American art, their collections and achievements.

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros

Installation view of Permission To Be Global at the CIFO Art Space, December 2013 | © Oriol Tarridas

Originally from Cuba, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros is a distinguished advocate of contemporary Latin American art whose contributions to the art world include the launch, in 2002, of the non-profit Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) in Miami. The foundation enables her to manage her collection as well as organise annual exhibitions at the CIFO Art Space, such as the recent Permission to Be Global/Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, which presented the works of artists such as Lygia Clark, Ana Mendieta and Oscar Munoz, and aimed to explore artistic practices in Latin American within the context of economic globalisation.Initially conciding with Art Basel in Miami Beach, the show then toured to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – a significant milestone for the museum, as the exhibition was the first-ever show held there that was devoted wholly to contemporary Latin American art.

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Courtesy of Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

The Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) works tirelessly to highlight the rich diversity of Latin American art, providing grants and additional support to help nurture artists, curators and scholars from the area. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros’ influence cannot be understated, as her roles have included being the Founding Member and Chair of MoMA's Latin American and Caribbean Fund, the Founding Patron of the Fundación Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and a member of the Latin American Acquisitions Committee of Tate. Her much-acclaimed collection has been shown around the world. A recent pit-stop was the Royal Academy of Arts, which ran an exhibition titled Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America, a show drawing solely from the Venezuelan's own collection. The impressive originality of the artworks on display – dating back to the 1930s – offered a perspective on Latin American art that was not only comprehensive, but also refreshing. The exhibition featured Uruguayan Joaquín Torres- Garcia, Argentinean Tomás Maldonado and Venezuelan kinetic and op artist Carlos Cruz-Diez.

Mauro Herlitzka

Argentinean Mauro Herlitzka is co-director of Pinta Art Fair, a show that attracts museums and collectors from across the world and plays a crucial role in bringing exposure to the diverse range of art being created in Latin America. But Herlitzka’s involvement in contemporary art extends much further: in addition to being a member of the MoMA's Latin American and Caribbean Acquisition Fund, he is also Chairman of the Fundación Espigas and its Document Center on the History of the Visual Arts, an organisation seeking to preserve and disseminate documents pertaining to the history of Argentinean art. The former President of arteBA fundacion, a much-celebrated arts fair based in Buenos Aires, Herlitzka is a crucial ambassador of the Latin American arts scene as someone who is demonstrably an astute observer of the global art market.

Bernardo Paz

© Claudia Regina

In the depths of rural Brazil near Belo Horizonte lies one of the most striking repositories of contemporary art in the world: Inhotim is a mammoth sculpture park that combines site-specific art with the natural landscape. The mastermind behind this creation is Bernardo Paz, an unconventional art collector who has been unequivocally lauded as a visionary. This idyllic garden, where untamed nature interacts with technologically driven, interactive art and cutting-edge sculptures and installations, provides a unique setting where visitors can engage with the works of renowned artists such as Doris Salcedo, Yayoi Kusama, Thomas Hirschhorn, Tunga and Olafur Eliasson. Ultimately, Paz sees Inhotim as playing an important role in the community and cultural identity of Belo Horizonte.

Juan Yarur

© Chi-Hua Salinas/Archivo MAC

At the age of 26, Juan Yarur became the youngest member of the Latin American Acquisitions Committee at Tate Modern, with his interest in Andy Warhol providing the initial gateway into art collecting. Together with fellow art curator Cecilia Brunson, he founded the non-profit Fundación AMA, which promotes young Chilean artists through residencies abroad every year. Recently, the Museo de Art Contemporáneo (MAC) in Santiago held an informative exhibition drawing on his collection called Juan Yarur Collection: A Personal Story, which featured local artists such as Magdalena Atria, Paz Errázuriz and Josefina Guilisasti. Yarur’s collection highlights the new generation of Chilean artists, whose creativity and work is far detached from the stranglehold of Pinochet’s dictatorship.

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