April 23, 2019
The exhibition VanguardISTHMUS. Central American Contemporary Art curated by Omar López-Chahoud and featuring works from Nicaragua’s Ortiz Gurdián Foundation’s Collection, opened on September 3rd at the Washington, D.C. Inter-American Development Bank’s Cultural Center.
The collection, one of the most significant in contemporary Central American art, was established by the Ortiz Gurdián Foundation with the intent of preserving and communicating the history of Central American art in the Twentieth and Twenty-First centuries. The foundation has long been a driver for the arts in the region, first with its commitment to Nicaragua’s Visual Arts Biennial and then its sustained support for the development of the Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American Isthmus. The Ortiz Gurdián’s collection is one of the region’s most complete, and it includes not only award winners from the Central American Biennial but also key works by both young and well-established artists.
VanguardISTHMUS features works by Marcos Agudelo, Fabrizio Arrieta, Fredman Barahona, Patricia Belli, Dona Conlon, Alejandro de la Guerra, Regina José Galindo, Jonathan Harker, Federico Herrero, Raúl Quintanilla, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Víctor “Crack” Rodríguez, Marisa Tellería, and Adán Vallecillo. In the words of its curator, “This show gravitates around two concepts, fragmentation and reconstruction, which coexist and work as a puzzle rebuilding piece by piece a fragile and poetic image of the region”.
The show’s selection, which includes video, three-dimensional works, and two-dimensional supports, is intended as a journey through the proposals of Central American artists who in recent years have marked the development of the region’s arts. In a Central America deeply impacted by internal conflict for over 30 years, which has open itself to new opportunities to repair its civic body, and which today confronts such daunting challenges as extreme gang violence, poverty, and entrenched government corruption, analyzing these works of art is a unique opportunity to understand the way in which the region’s artists are responding to those social dynamics, reflecting the complexity of the events through which they are living.
The exhibition will remain open through November 25th.