Book Launch: Constructing Latin America. Architecture, Politics, and Race at the Museum of Modern Art


Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 5:30pm to 7:00pm


CGIS South, S216

To register for this event, click here.

Speaker: Patricio del Real, Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Moderated by: José Lira, Professor of Architecture, Universidade de São Paulo and Visiting Professor 2022-23, Princeton University

Professor del Real will present his latest book, Constructing Latin America. Architecture, Politics, and Race at the Museum of Modern Art. A nuanced look at how the Museum of Modern Art’s carefully curated treatment of Latin American architecture promoted U.S. political, economic, and cultural interests. In the interwar period and immediately following World War II, the U.S. government promoted the vision of a modern, progressive, and democratic Latin America and worked to cast the region as a partner in the fight against fascism and communism. This effort was bolstered by the work and products of many institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Using modern architecture to imagine a Latin America under postwar U.S. leadership, MoMA presented blockbuster shows, including Brazil Builds (1943) and Latin American Architecture since 1945 (1955), that deployed racially coded aesthetics and emphasized the confluence of “Americanness” and “modernity” in a globalizing world. Delving into the heated debates of the period and presenting never-before-published internal documents and photos from the museum and the Nelson A. Rockefeller archives, Patricio del Real is the first to fully address MoMA’s role in U.S. cultural imperialism and its consequences through its exhibitions on Latin American art and architecture.