Sur moderno

Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift

May 28–Sep 12, 2020


Jesús Rafael Soto (Venezuelan, 1923–2005). Doble transparencia (Double Transparency) (detail). 1956. Oil on plexiglass and wood with metal rods and bolts, 21 5/8 × 21 5/8 × 12 5/8″ (55 × 55 × 32 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Ana Teresa Arismendi. © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 East The Robert B. Menschel Galleries

Breaking beyond the limits of the frame, pushing line into three-dimensional form, using movement and bold new shapes—with these techniques and more, South American artists revolutionized painting, sculpture, design, and architecture at midcentury. Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift celebrates the radical ways that artists from Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay used abstraction to reinvent art and, in turn, transformed society and contemporary life. Through this comprehensive collection, the exhibition is a journey through the vibrant history of modern Latin American art and includes works by Lygia Clark, Gego, Hélio Oiticica, Jesús Rafael Soto, and more.

This exhibition is included in our Virtual Views series. Celebrate modern Latin American art during a live Q&A with Inés Katzenstein, Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America at MoMA, and Gabriel Perez-Barreiro, Senior Advisor to the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, and multimedia features in Spanish and English.

Organized by Inés Katzenstein, Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America, The Museum of Modern Art, and consulting curator María Amalia García, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)–Universidad Nacional de San Martín, with Karen Grimson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art.

Generous funding for the exhibition is provided by Agnes Gund and the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Adriana Cisneros de Griffin and Nicholas Griffin.

Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, The Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Alice and Tom Tisch, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, The Keith Haring Foundation, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro.

Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, GRoW @ Annenberg, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Karen and Gary Winnick, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Clarissa Alcock and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Agnes Gund, and Oya and Bülent Eczacıbaşı.


  • Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift Hardcover, 240 pages
  • Sur moderno: Recorridos de la abstracción (Spanish) Hardcover, 240 pages
  • Sur moderno: Itinerários da abstração (Portuguese) Hardcover, 240 pages


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