NORMAN — A new exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art explores the advancement of Latin American art from the 1940s to the 1990s.
“Libertad de Expresión: the Art of the Americas and Cold War Politics” examines how the Organization of American States (OAS) and its cultural institution, the Art Museum of the Americas (AMA), advanced Latin American art and democratic values during the Cold War, said Mark White, museum chief curator and interim director.
“The AMA used art as a form of cultural diplomacy with the goal of furthering understanding and cooperation between the Americas, White said. “In the process, it championed the international aspirations of Latin American art and culture.”
The exhibit includes 62 pieces on loan from the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C., and is on display through Jan. 5, 2014, at the museum, 555 Elm Ave.
In 1948, as political tensions between the Western and Eastern blocs escalated to a cold war, the Ninth International Conference of American States convened in Bogotá to address the spread of international communism. Twenty-one American states agreed to such an action and adopted several additional resolutions.
The OAS charter that resulted from the conference established a new body charged with furthering relations among the Americas, effectively replacing the Pan American Union.
White said the charter emphasized cultural diplomacy as an important aspect of its central mission to promote understanding among the Americas. The Visual Arts Section would help further that cause.
Cuban José Gómez Sicre lead the visual arts unit section in an ambitious exhibition program at the Pan American Union building in Washington, D.C., that would further awareness of the art of the Caribbean and Central and South America in the United States.
Beginning in 1949, Gómez Sicre sought out established artists as well as emerging talents for the exhibit. White said Gómez Sicre and the OAS selected artists who championed contemporary trends in Latin American art and emphasized freedom of expression in American republics.