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Six great Latin American artists speak in new e-book series

February 26, 2013|By Hector Tobar
  • "Jac Leirner en Conversacion" is one of the new e-books from Fundacion Cisneros/Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.
"Jac Leirner en Conversacion" is one of the new e-books from… (Fundacion Cisneros/Coleccion…)

Since 2010, the New York- and Venezuela-based Fundación Cisernos has published a series of critically acclaimed books in which several of Latin America’s most renowned modern artists speak.  

They’re gorgeous, thoughtful books, in which creators such as the Argentine-born artist and industrial designer Tomás Maldonado speak at length and freely about the birth of their vision and their careers, often accompanied by illustrations of their work.

Now, the Fundación Cisneros/Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros is making six of these works available for the first time in e-book format.

You can read the Brazilian-born conceptual artist Jac Leirner talk about her 1960s and '70s childhood in a supremely artistic São Paulo family -- her extended family includes several artists and art critics and dealers. Her parents were collectors.

“They loved style and beauty in all different materials and forms -- Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and later Brazilian Constructivist paintings, sculpture and design,” Leirner tells art historian Adele Nelson. “Our home was packed with beautiful things -- books, carpets, furniture…These were bargains that they bought on weekends. They knew they were acquiring precious, priceless things for nothing… I don’t do that… I don’t buy. I just search for language.”

In his conversation with art historian Ariel Jimenez, the late kinetic artist Jesus Soto recalls growing up in rural Venezuela, and two events that shaped his aesthetic: reading Dante while climbing a tree in his backyard at age 12, and a childhood illness that caused him to hallucinate.

“I had a very high fever,” Jimenez remembers. “All I know is that it made me perceive very strange things that were fascinating and gave me great pleasure -- so much pleasure, in fact, that I didn’t want to get better.”

Three other books are being released this month. They are conversations with Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez; Ferreira Gullar, an art critic essayist, playwright, poet and a key figure in the Brazilian cultural scene; and Gyula Kosice, the Argentina-based artist whose creations include “Hydrospatial City,” a proposed urban utopia suspended in space.

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