The Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) was founded in the 1970s by Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Gustavo A. Cisneros. Its mission is to enhance appreciation of the diversity, distinction, and range of art from Latin America, and to advance scholarship of the material cultures of the Ibero-American world that covers 500 years of artistic activities in the region.
This mission is embodied in the CPPC’s expansive art collection that ranges across many genres, communities, periods, and styles. While perhaps best known for its collection of Modern geometric abstraction from Latin America, the CPPC also comprises equally important holdings of artworks and documentation by traveler artists to and within Latin America and the Caribbean from the 17th to 19th centuries; furniture, art, and objects from Latin America’s colonial period; contemporary art from Latin America and the Caribbean; and an important selection of art, artifacts, and documentation from twelve indigenous tribes of the Orinoco river basin in the Venezuelan Amazon.
One of the primary goals of the CPPC has been to place art from Latin America in dialogue with the global art history canon. To that end, beginning in 1999, an extensive traveling exhibition and loan program was developed which has since yielded over sixty dedicated exhibitions and hundreds of long- and short-term loans across the globe. Over time, this lending and exhibition program has evolved to include strategic donations, finding new homes for Latin American art in major museums throughout the Americas and Europe where they will continue to be studied in depth and reach ever-expanding audiences.
In addition to the art collection and the exhibition programming, collaboration and education are central tenets to the ethos of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. As such, we strive to support research and nurture networks through public programs, publications, and strategic partnerships.
A few highlights of our public programming include: Seminario Fundación Cisneros (2011–2018), a series of seminars in Caracas, Venezuela, that brought together a group of local and international specialists to present original research around a thematic focus; Viewing Room (2014–2016), a collaboration with various art institutions around New York City where a single artwork from the collection was exhibited alongside corollary programming; Discusiones, a lecture program that traveled to universities and cultural institutions throughout Venezuela; and the Cisneros Seminar in Material Cultures of the Ibero-American World, a partnership with the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, that centered around promoting the study of the cultures of the Ibero-American world through presentations and roundtable discussions.
Our publications are an important part of the CPPC’s mission of supporting scholarly research and a deeper understanding of art from Latin America. In addition to publishing exhibition catalogs and monographs, the urgent need to compile primary-sourced information from the region has shaped several editorial initiatives dedicated to preserving firsthand accounts from leading artists and intellectuals.
Along with our public programming and publications initiatives, strategic partnerships with universities, research institutes, and cultural institutions are equally crucial for ensuring that the CPPC's work and mission expands well beyond our organization. In 2011, CUNY Hunter College and the CPPC formed a major partnership to establish a new program in Latin American art. The five-year collaboration established the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Professorship in Latin American Art at Hunter College and provided Hunter students access to the CPPC's resources, resulting in several collaborative exhibitions. In 2016, the Department of Art and Art History at Hunter College made the Professorship in Latin American Art a permanent position.
The CPPC also has a grant program that has supported institutions including CUNY Graduate Center, Independent Curators International (ICI), Bard Center for Curatorial Studies; Bard Graduate Center, Al Borde, Lugar a dudas, SOMA México, FLORA ars+natura, TEOR/ética, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, CIMAM, DOCUMENTA, and Centro León.
The longest running and most multifaceted strategic institutional collaboration is with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros is a Trustee and Founding Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Art Fund at MoMA. Dating back to the 1980s, this collaboration has included the donation of over 230 artworks, traveling grants for MoMA curators to see Latin American art firsthand; the establishing of the Cisneros Bibliographer for Latin America; ongoing corollary programming, symposia, conservation, publications, and exhibition support. These initiatives culminated in the establishment of MoMA’s Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America (Cisneros Institute) whose mission is to become a vital platform for the arts of Latin America by fostering critical thinking across borders. Through its programs and publications, it aims to stimulate, support, and disseminate new research on modern and contemporary art of Latin America and its role as an integral part of global culture. It also seeks to promote the multiple perspectives of artists and scholars from Latin America by engaging in an international dialogue.
This website is a dynamic expression of the CPPC’s mission. We invite you to explore our history, browse and download our publications, learn about our programs, and visit our past, present, and future exhibitions.