The Cold War in Latin America: Art and Politics

CHAPTER 2: Post-war historical/economic context (1950s)

Latin America was spared the widespread destruction of World War II. After the war ended, many nations in the region enjoyed a period of relative prosperity, as economic growth and increasing industrialization offered a sense of optimism for the future. Modernism became a leading force shaping large urbanization projects in rapidly expanding cities. The utopian possibilities of modernism inspired various forms of abstraction from artists throughout Latin America.

This art object can not be displayed
This art object can not be displayed

Many artists saw in modern industry a source of inspiration.

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Brazilian modernism reached its height in the development of the new capital city of Brasilia, where futuristic architecture was inspired by abstract art.

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International abstraction shaped the design of University City in Caracas, the main Campus of the Central University of Venezuela, which featured the art of leading Venezuelan and European artists side by side.

Incliné bleu et noir [Tilted Blue and Black]

Jesús Rafael Soto
Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, 1923 - 2005, Paris

Incliné bleu et noir [Tilted Blue and Black]
Wood and metal construction
43 cm x 38 cm x 5.5 cm (16 15/16 in. x 14 15/16 in. x 2 3/16 in.)
Gift of Charles and Dorothy Clark, 1976

A leading figure in the Kinetic and Op art movements, Jesús Rafael Soto investigated ways to dynamically engage the viewer. In this piece, which Soto produced while living in Paris, he suspended a blue and black rod in front of a panel of thinly painted white lines. When the visitors move in front of the work, their changing view of the rod against the striped background generates optical effects along the rod’s tilted edges that ripple with vibrations.