Independent Curators International's 2017 Leo Award Goes to Patricia Phelps de CisnerosOctober 25, 2017
This article was first published in ARTnews on April 28, 2017.
Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, the arts patron and an ARTnews Top 200 collector, will receive the 2017 Leo Award, given annually by Independent Curators International, the arts organization founded in 1975 to support curatorial endeavors. The award will be presented at ICI’s annual benefit in New York on October 25.
Cisneros is a formidable force in the collecting and supporting of Latin American art, a large chunk of which she has given to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, most notably with a 102-work donation last October. Her collection, which leans heavily toward geometric abstraction produced between the 1940s and 1990s, also includes 19th-century traveler artists to Latin America, Amazonian ethnographic objects, colonial art and objects from Latin America, and contemporary art.
The collection, officially known as the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC), has been the subject of 14 different exhibitions, which have traveled to nine countries. Her foundation also supports scholarly research in the field of Latin American art, including a partnership with ICI that gives a travel grant to an international curator to study in Central America and the Caribbean.
“By honoring Patty with the Leo Award, we acknowledge a vision—international in scope, supportive of artists and curators, and focused on education—which in so many ways echo ICI’s core values,” ICI executive director Renaud Proch told ARTnews in an email. “Through CPPC, she has fostered ambitious new scholarship and research into the history of art, particularly in Latin America; and we have been thrilled to directly collaborate with CPPC in this area since 2012.”
Part of her collection will also be the subject of a major exhibition presented by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Research Institute as part of the hotly anticipated upcoming edition of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, which looks at the Latin American and Latinx art and its relationship to Los Angeles. The exhibition, titled “Making Art Concrete,” opens this September, and will present the findings of the two institutes’ comprehensive archival research and scientific analysis of Concrete art produced in Argentina and Brazil in the 1940s and 1950s. The exhibition will highlight the artistic production of such luminaries as Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticia and Willys de Castro, and is quickly becoming one of the must-see shows of PST: LA/LA’s 70-plus exhibition initiative.
The Leo Award, named after legendary dealer (and early ICI supporter) Leo Castelli, is awarded annually, and in past years has been given to luminaries such as LACMA director Michael Govan, fashion designer and ARTnews Top 200 collector Miuccia Prada, and dealer Marian Goodman, who won the prize last year.
“The art world has become increasingly global over the last decades, and ICI has had a key role in providing intellectual heft and sophistication to this process,” Cisneros said in a statement. “I am especially pleased to see their ongoing commitment to art and artists from the Caribbean and Central and South America.”