What were we looking for? Art that inspired or educated or was just so beautiful we’d not easily forget it. We expected we might find what we were looking for at MATE Museo Mario Testino in Barranco (Lima), Peru.
What a contrast to the work of the Peruvian photographer, Mario Testino! Bold celebrities and fashion models are what made his photography famous – The Rolling Stones, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell.
Fast forward 10 days and many miles from Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We went to see art at MALBA, the Museo de Arte Latinoamericana de Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, their permanent collection gallery was closed for renovation, but two floors with special exhibits were open.
This memo referred to the events surrounding the coup in Chile, when “on 11 September 1973, the military moved to oust Allende in a coup d’état sponsored by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).” (Wikipedia) We continued to read on: “At approximately 0500 hrs local on the morning all communications media will be taken over…Additionally, all electric power sources….and critical social services will be seized. This will be a total effort for the armed forces to force a military coup to oust Pres Allende….”
The redacted papers were part of a fascinating exhibit of the work of a Chilean artist, Voluspa Jarpa, who uses archival material as an art form for understanding reality particularly for Latin American countries from 1948-1994.
The art we saw at each museum was oppositional. At MATE, Maiga’s small black and white studies of unadorned people in one room contrasted with Testino’s bold, large portraits of Peruvian fashion in another room. MALBA offered Ono’s heartfelt “imagine peace” message on one floor in opposition to Jarpa’s earth-shattering reality of peace and war on another floor. We had certainly found what we were looking for at MATE and MALBA.