Past Exhibitions

Boundless Reality

Traveler Artists' Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection

October 30, 2015 to January 23, 2016

About

Hunter College
The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
Hours: Wed–Sat, 12 pm to 6pm

Americas Society
680 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
Hours: Wed–Sat, 12 pm to 6pm

 

Boundless Reality is the culmination of a multi-year collaborative effort between Hunter College, The Graduate Center at CUNY, Americas Society, and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC). The exhibition’s conceptual framework was established through the seminar Imagining the Latin American Landscape: The Nineteenth-Century Gaze, a curatorial practicum for MA and MFA students at Hunter College. During this seminar, taught by the exhibition’s curator Professor Harper Montgomery, the students studied the artworks in person, produced original research on their assigned works, and collectively conceived of the exhibition’s narrative and checklist. 

The exhibition includes major works by key figures in the genre of Latin American traveler art: Frans Post’s View of Frederica City in Paraiba (1638) and his Landscape with Chapel (c. 1663); Cotopaxi (1853) by Frederick Edwin Church, and Sunset: A Scene in Brazil (1864-65) by Martin Johnson Heade, as well as Fritz George Melbye’s view of Venezuela (1853) and José Maria Velasco’s views of Mexico (1870s). Additionally, works from the CPPC’s complete holdings of photographs and drawings from Auguste Morisot’s 1886 expedition up the Orinoco River allowed for the consideration of questions related to the emergence of photography in the nineteenth-century and its relationship to the conventions of painting and drawing the exotic landscape.

A related publication, Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, edited by Katherine Manthorne, is also available through D.A.P. The book includes three principal texts by Katherine Manthorne, Pablo Diener, and Luis Enrique Pérez-Oramas in addition to object entries by scholars and students. 

Exhibition design and graphics by Project Projects.

Curatorial Text

Boundless Reality serves as an introduction to the genre of Latin American traveler art of the 17th to 19th century.  It addresses the importance of this art in its moment and unfolds the rich histories that surround the individual artists and artworks.

This genre, which is only recently attracting a wider interest, begins with the curiosity that accompanied European imperialism.  Alexander von Humboldt’s reflections on the aesthetics of landscape observation were appropriated by a new generation of travelers.  These early 19th century travelers illustrated narratives of exploration in the New World, which were published and widely sought after in Europe, signaling the emergence of a new figure—the traveler artist.

The paintings and drawings produced during these adventures document the ways in which travelers encountered and experienced the region, and they influenced the ways in which Europeans have understood tropical nature and culture.  At the time, Europeans imagined the tropics as a site for cultural imperialism and fantasies of self-realization.  Traveler artists often authenticated this perception by presenting the landscape as an enchanted land. 

In the middle of the 19th century, North American artists from the Hudson River School began to venture into the genre of South American landscapes.  Frederic Edwin Church aspired to retrace Humboldt’s itinerary in order to redraw his views with new techniques and a new spirit.

Nearing the end of the period, native born artists were picking up the European landscape tradition and reflecting on their own culture and landscape through a different lens.  José Maria Velasco’s paintings of Mexico not only demonstrate an adaption of the European enlightenment sensibility, but also illustrate the growing sense of national identity observed in the country at the time.

The significance of these images in the process of producing knowledge about these places indicates the range of approaches these artists had in considering their subjects. Some from a scientific perspective, others a quasi-religious zeal, all reflecting the major concerns of the 19th century mind as it was faced with this new and intriguing landscape.

Public Programs

General Opening

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015
12:00– 8:30 p.m.
Americas Society

680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065

Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065

Free admission

Landscape Walk in Central Park

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Organized by Americas Society

Saturday, October 31, 2015
2:00– 3:30 p.m.

There is a long tradition of thinking and walking that links philosophical discourse and the human body in its exploration of the space through motion. Central Park guides and Americas Society Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel will lead a small group through the park, weaving relations between art, landscape, and nature.

The Dairy Visitor Center, Central Park
65th St Transverse, New York, NY 10065

Admission: Americas Society members and Hunter College students only. Please bring your student ID.

Learn here how to become an AS member to access this event.

Exhibition Tour

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday, November 4, 20156:30 p.m.
Experience the show through a guided tour of each of the two exhibition venues with the following: Rafael Romero, director emeritus of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; Rafael Santana, assistant director of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; and Dr. Harper Montgomery, curator of the exhibition, distinguished lecturer, and Patricia Phelps de Cisneros professor of Latin American art at Hunter College. Tour will begin at Americas Society Art Gallery.

Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065

Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065

Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

Landscape Walk in Central Park

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Organized by Americas Society

Saturday, November 7, 2015
2:00– 3:30 p.m.

There is a long tradition of thinking and walking that links philosophical discourse and the human body in its exploration of the space through motion. Central Park guides and Americas Society Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel will lead a small group through the park, weaving relations between art, landscape, and nature.

The Dairy Visitor Center, Central Park
65th St Transverse, New York, NY 10065

Admission: Americas Society members and Hunter College students only. Please bring your student ID.

Learn here how to become an AS member to access this event.

Lecture: Katherine Manthorne

Friday, November 20, 2015

Katherine Manthorne, art historian, Latin American art specialist and editor of the recently published book Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, will be presenting the book along with the exhibition that is currently on view at Hunter College and Americas Society of works drawn from the same collection: Boundless Reality. The presentation will be followed by a book signing with Katherine Manthorne.

The event is open to the public. 

"The Impenetrability of Landscape" Artist Talk with Alice Miceli

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015
6:30 p.m.

Brazilian artist Alice Miceli will present a talk on recent works that explore the phenomenon of impenetrable, inaccessible spaces—places that, even in our globalized world, remain somehow off the map. Miceli will introduce two bodies of work: "In Depth (landmines)," 2015, her current research into minefields in Cambodia and Colombia; and the "Chernobyl Project," 20072012, a previous project centered on the creation of visualization patterns for the invisible radioactive contamination in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. She will comment on the similarities and disparities between the two in order to raise questions about the nature of landscape representation nowadays.

Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065

Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

"Redrawing Boundaries: Pictorial Process and Possibility in Early Colonial Mexico" Artist Talk with Daniela Bleichmar

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Daniela Bleichmar is a guest scholar of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics program with Hunter College. The program brings key figures from Latin America to Hunter College to address topics in contemporary art and scholarship through talks with students and the New York community. In addition to this forum, Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics conduct studio visits and seminar discussions with Hunter MFA and MA students during their residency.

Hunter College, Room 1527HN
695 Park Ave
New York, NY 10065
Free admission

"Poema Volcánico" Talk with Artist Eduardo Navarro and Curator Sarah Demeuse

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
6:30 p.m.

Argentine artist Eduardo Navarro will speak with curator Sarah Demeuse and will present his artwork Poema Volcánico, which deals with the Ecuadorian volcanic geography. In 2014, while climbing the active volcano Guagua Pichincha, he created drawings from litmus paper, which measured the acidity of the gas emissions produced by the fumaroles inside the crater of the volcano. Navarro is a guest scholar of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics program with Hunter College. The program brings key figures from Latin America to Hunter College to address topics in contemporary art and scholarship through talks with students and the New York community. In addition to this forum, Cisneros Visiting Artists and Critics conduct studio visits and seminar discussions with Hunter MFA and MA students during their residency.

Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065

Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

Exhibition Tour

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
6:30 p.m.

Hunter College graduate student Agnieszka Anna Ficek will lead a tour of the two Boundless Reality exhibition venues, beginning at Americas Society Art Gallery.

Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065

Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College
68th Street and Lexington Avenue, SW corner
New York, NY 10065

Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

Exhibition Design: A Talk by Prem Krishnamurthy and Shannon Harvey

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

6:30 p.m.
Prem Krishnamurthy and Shannon Harvey of design studio Project Projects will discuss exhibition design as a dynamic element within Boundless Reality. Building off of both historical precedents and the studio's extensive experience, their talk will contextualize the active role exhibition display plays in shaping the reception of artworks and artifacts.

Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065

Admission: Free for Americas Society members; $10 for non-members. Free for Hunter College students (please bring your student ID).

Artworks

  • William John Burchell, (1782‑1863)

    On the River, near Santos, Brazil

    1835

    Oil on board

    29.2 x 34.6 cm (11 1/2 x 13 5/8 inches)

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  • Frederic Edwin Church, (1826‑1900)

    Cotopaxi, Ecuador

    1853

    Oil on canvas

    24.8 x 36.8 cm (9 3/4 x 14 1/2 inches)

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  • Henry Augustus Ferguson, (1845 ‑ 1911)

    Morning in the Peruvian Andes

    c. 1870

    Oil on canvas

    97.8 x 152.5 cm (38 1/2 x 60 1/16 inches)

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  • Eduard Hildebrandt, (1818‑1869)

    Sunset over Pedra da Gávea, Rio de Janeiro

    c. 1860

    Oil on canvas

    52.1 x 67.3 x 2.5 cm (20 1/2 x 26 1/2 x 1 inches)

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  • Camille Pissarro, (1830‑1903)

    A Plaza in Caracas

    1854–1858

    Oil on canvas

    26.7 x 46 x 2cm (10 1/2 x 18 1/8 x 13/16 inches)

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  • Frans Jansz Post (1612‑1680)

    View of Frederica City in Paraíba

    1638

    Oil on canvas

    61 x 87.3cm (24 x 34 3/8 inches)

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  • Nicolas‑Antoine Taunay, (1755–1830)

    View of the Road of Quebra Chángala in the Alto da Boa Vista

    c. 1816–1830

    Oil on canvas

    71.8 x 106 cm (28 1/4 x 41 3/4 inches)

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  • W. Wood, (Activo c. 1840)

    View of the City of Caracas from the Calvary

    1839

    Litograph on paper

    37.8 x 61.3 cm (14 7/8 x 24 1/8 inches)

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  • Charles de Wolf Brownell, (1822–1909)

    Havana Bay

    c. 1856–1866

    Oil on canvas

    21 x 33.3 cm (8 1/4 x 13 1/8 inches)

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Press

Latin American Traveler Art Comes to Manhattan, Art in America, November 2, 2015

150 Latin Americn Artworks Displayed at Hunter College, DNAinfo, November 5, 2015