ANTONIO BESSA, MARIO TORRES
Beyond the Super-Square: Art and Architecture in Latin America After Modernism, which developed from a symposium presented by The Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2011, showcases original essays by distinguished Latin American architects, historians, and curators, whose research examines architecture and urban design practices in the region during a significant period of the twentieth century. Drawing from the exuberant architectural projects of the 1940s to the 1960s, as well as from socially engaged artistic practices of the present day, the essays in this collection reveal how the heroic visions and utopian ideals popular in architectural discourse during the modernist era bore complicated legacies for Latin America - the consequences of which are evident in such vastly uneven economic conditions and socially disparate societies found throughout the region today. Beyond the Super-Square addresses how modernism came into being in Latin America and compellingly explores how it continues to resonate in today's cultural discourse. Among the topics explored are the influence of scale in Latin American architectural projects from the mid-twentieth century; the development and circulation of national cultural identities through architectural media; the damaging effects of natural resource extraction arising from the construction of major urban projects; and the recovery of canonically overlooked figures in art and architectural histories such as Lina Bo Bardi and Joao Filgueiras Lima ("Lele") of Brazil, Juan Legarreta in Mexico, and Henry Klumb in Puerto Rico. The innovative essays in Beyond the Super-Square take many of the themes traditionally examined within the strict field of urbanism and architecture and explore them against a broader range of disciplines, including global economy, political science, gender, visual arts, and urban planning. The anthology's first section, "Remnants of Modernism," presents original scholarship focused on the modernist movement in Latin America, in particular modern architectural culture in Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The second section, "Paradigms of Contemporary Urbanism," features research and artistic projects that address timely debates around the proliferation of informal urban settlements, the development of resource extraction cities, and the rise of poor and starving urban populations, among other concerns. The final section, "The Raw and the Cooked," focuses on the work of an overlooked second generation of modernists and considers how contemporary artists in Brazil are formulating responses to timely cultural issues. Containing a breadth of scholarship, this book offers a compelling and distinctive view of contemporary life in Latin America.