The Block receives gift of posters by Argentinean Pop Artist Edgardo Giménez

The Block Museum proudly announces a gift of mid-twentieth century posters that significantly expands its holdings of Latin American art, graphic design, and Pop Art.

In recognition of the presentation of the exhibition Pop América, 1965–1975 (fall 2019), The Block has received a donation of 18 archival posters by Edgardo Giménez (Argentinean, born 1942). A generous gift from the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA), New York, these works contribute to the museum’s goals to acquire work with rich connections to Northwestern’s curriculum and deepen its representation of modern and contemporary culture from international perspectives.

Established in 2011, The Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) is dedicated to increasing the visibility of Latin American art on a global scale. Since its creation, ISLAA has played an international role in fostering advanced research and public engagement in the field. ISLAA views fine arts and graphic design as being intricately related, and understands posters as a fundamental element within the larger narrative of art history.

We are honored that the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art has chosen The Block Museum of Art among the national institutions to house this work. These vibrant posters will be widely utilized in teaching and learning across Northwestern by students studying advertising, design, and Latin American culture and politics among many other disciplines.

Lisa Corrin, Ellen Philips Katz Director

Giménez, a self-taught artist and graphic designer, started his career making posters for galleries in Buenos Aires. In the mid-1960s, he became a central figure of Pop Art in Argentina and was an important member of the circle around the influential Instituto Torcuato di Tella, the center of the avant-garde art scene in Buenos Aires.

Giménez’s works are known for their playful pastiches of images and saturated, bright colors. Often using humor and borrowed imagery, his works subvert the elitism of the art world by merging art with popular culture and consumerism. Among his most well-known designs, and one that was included in Pop América, was the poster for Fuera de Caja (Out of the Box), a storefront gallery he co-founded in 1969 with art critics to sell artist-designed objects for everyday use. The poster is notable for its humorous imagery and psychedelic swirling forms in loud tones of orange, pink, and yellow that emerge with the neon-green rabbit from the box. With these endeavors, Giménez worked at the intersection of fine art, performance, mass media, and consumerism.

The selection of posters from ISLAA was made in consultation with Northwestern University faculty members. In Spring 2020, Alejandra Uslenghi (Spanish & Portuguese and Comparative Literary Studies), Harris Feinsod (English and Comparative Literary Studies), and Susan Manning (English, Theatre, and Performance Studies), scholars who work at the cross section of art and visual culture, considered which posters would be meaningful in their teaching. Because many of the works include texts and refer to events, they provide ways of discussing and learning about performance art, criticism, and poetry. The works offer ways of accessing historical cultural moments in Latin American Pop Art and beyond, as well as important figures in the cultural world of Buenos Aires.

Edgardo Gimenez’s posters will allow us to bring to life for our students the modernizing urban experience of Argentina and Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s. These luminous, colorful, lysergic prints  were informed by the new communicational language of advertisement and mass media, when “the media was the message”. Their purpose is to advertise the art exhibitions, the modern dance shows, the theatrical performances and local happenings that made Buenos Aires a cosmopolitan center of trans-national avant-garde and counterculture movements.

Borrowing from Pop, Psychedelia, the New Abstraction, Cinetismo, Gimenez’s graphic art is a window into the aesthetic sensibility of those decades and the ways in which it aimed to reach a mass urban audience, while commanding its gaze, shocking its taste and questioning its morals. The posters allow us to share with students a broader, comparative story of those fascinating decades in the Americas.

Alejandra Uslenghi, Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese and Comparative Literary Studies

The gift connects to works in The Block’s collection by such artists as Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist, and Ed Paschke, with strong colors, design, and popular imagery. The posters also complement Northwestern University Library’s collections of material from the late twentieth century, and specifically culture and ephemera from the 1960s, and are documents of the redefinitions of art that took place globally.

Top Image: Edgardo Giménez, Sin título (Fuera de caja) (Untitled [Out of the Box]), 1970. Offset print on paper, 14.75 x 22 inches (37.465 x 55.88 cm). Collection of the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. Gift of the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA)

Story by Corinne Granof, Academic Curator, Block Museum of Art

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