• Beyond the Supersquare: On the Corner of Art & Architecture
    Oct 28, 2011 to Oct 30, 2011
    Bronx Museum of the Arts

Mauro Restiffe, Empossamento #8 (Inauguration), 2003, gelatin silver print.

Beyond the Supersquare: On the Corner of Art & Architecture is a three-day conference and publication designed to draw attention to an important historical period of modernist architectural production in Latin America and the Caribbean that, forty years later, continues to resonate among contemporary artists. Held on October 28 through 30, 2011, the conference strives to create a foreground for the Museum's research team, invited scholars, experts, and professionals to enrich a dialogue not often explored within the United States on the enduring fascination with this architectural tradition. The conference contextualizes the impact of modernist architecture throughout these regions through a series of panels and presentations by scholars, urban planners, students, and contemporary artists. This innovative exchange expands the breadth of a fall 2013 exhibition and marks one of the first times the work of modern architects and contemporary artists are considered together in a public forum.

Carlos Brillembourg, AIA, is a registered architect and principal of Carlos Brillembourg Architects in New York. Parallel to his practice, he has taught architecture at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas and at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York. Brillembourg was a founding member of the Instituto de Arquitectura Urbana in Caracas. In conjunction with MoMA and the Vera List Center at the New School University, Brillembourg organized the seminar Latin American Architecture, 1929–1960: Contemporary Reflections, which was formatted into a collection of essays and published by Monacelli Press in 2004.

The conference research team is made up of a knowledgeable staff, including: executive director, Holly Block; director of curatorial and education programs, Sergio Bessa; and independent curator, María Inés Rodríguez.

Directly before joining the Bronx Museum staff in 2006, Holly Block served as executive director of Art in General, a leading nonprofit arts organization in lower Manhattan dedicated to commissioning and presenting contemporary art. She also served as a cocommissioner for the Department of State for the 2003 Cairo Biennial; wrote Art Cuba: The New Generation, a comprehensive survey on contemporary art; and, most recently organized Todo Clandestino, Todo Popular, the first solo exhibition of Cuban artist Alberto Casado. Block has been a dynamic force in the contemporary art world, having traveled widely and worked closely with artists.

A distinguished curator, Sergio Bessa completed his PhD in art education from New York University and an MFA from Pratt Institute, and has organized several critically acclaimed exhibitions throughout Europe, in New York, and at the Bronx Museum, including Re: La Chinoise, Baumgartner Gallery, New York, 2002; Animating Fahlstrom, Institut d'Art Contemporain, Lyon, France, 2002; and Intersections: the Grand Concourse at 100 (2008), which was funded in part by the Graham Foundation. His essays and articles appear such publications as, Öyvind Fahlström: The Art of Writing, Architectures of Poetry, Zingmagazine.

Columbian-born, Paris-based independent curator María Ines Rodríguez has worked on exhibitions and research projects exploring the appropriation of public space in areas of art, design, architecture, and urbanism. Educated at the Fine Arts at the University de Los Andes in Bogota and the Ecole Superieure d'Art Visuel in Geneva, Rodríguez has organized and participated in various conferences and exhibitions, such as Tropical Table Party (Santa Monica Art Center, Barcelona) and Filière Papier. Among her most recent projects is Moderno Salvaje: Alexander Apostol at the Commercial Gallery, San Juan.

Felipe Correa is an architect and urbanist based in New York and Quito, Ecuador; he is the newly appointed director of the Masters of Urban Design program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. His most recent research focuses on resource extraction models within the South American continent and the diverse models of urbanization these have enabled. Correa's other recent research initiatives focus on Andean topography and its imprint on the Latin American city, and on New Orleans and its forms of exchange with the material forces of the Mississippi River.

Ana María Duran founded the Quito-based firm Estudio A0 in 2002 and has since overseen the building of projects of diverse scales and typologies, which have been published locally and internationally. Duran has undertaken joint research studios with Harvard University, the Parsons School of Design, Universidad Ibero-americana, Universidad Javeriana, Universidad Rafael Landivar, and the City College of New York. Between 2004 and 2006, she directed the XV Quito Architecture Biennale: Visible Cities, which received the Federico Gonzalez Suarez Award.

Belmont (Monty) Freeman is the founding principal of Belmont Freeman Architects and has earned large standing as a scholar, innovative designer, and progressive practitioner. From 1998 to 2007 he served as president of the board of directors of Storefront for Art & Architecture, an internationally known nonprofit design gallery in New York. An American of Cuban decent, Freeman is widely regarded as an expert on Cuban architecture, a subject on which he speaks and publishes widely. In 2004, he coproduced the landmark exhibition Architecture and Revolution in Cuba, 1959–1969, at Storefront for Art and Architecture.

José Lira has published work in various compilations such as City Words (Ed. UFRGS, 2001); The Promotion of Private Housing and Economic Modern Architecture (Rima, 2002); Les mots de la stigmatization urbaine (UNESCO, 2006); and City, Urbanism, and Planning (Ceci, 2009); and in journals such as Space and Debates, Journal of Urban and Regional Studies, Journal of Social Sciences, Genesis, Social Science Information, and New Studies CEBRAP, among others. Currently, Lira directs the Center for University Cultural Preservation (CPC-USP).

Leanne Mella, conference coordinator, is a contemporary art curator. Mella has consulted extensively with non-profit arts and culture organizations in the United States and abroad. She has organized exhibitions and lectured at numerous institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York State Council on the Arts, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Most recently, Mella served for close to seven years as the manager of International Visual Arts Programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Ligia Nobre completed her MA degree in histories and theories of architecture at the Architectural Association. Nobre cofounded exo experimental org, a platform for research in the field of art and urbanism in São Paulo; she is the coeditor of Guia do Copan by Pablo Leon de la Barra; and she has coordinated Working at Copan by artist Peter Friedl (Steinberg Press, 2007). She has worked as a consultant at the Ministry of Culture of Brazil and is currently teaching at the College of Architecture and Urbanism, Mackenzie University, in Sao Paulo.

Pedro Reyes is a Mexico City-based artist whose projects are interested in structural design and building principles. This interest goes beyond the formal aspects of architecture: in his practice, the utilization of space is infused with symbolic as well as physical schemes to enhance human communication and creativity. Trained as an architect, Reyes works in a number of mediums, including installation, design, performance, and video, all with a view to social activism. Inspired by various "alternative," non-Western strategies for the production of social relationships, he considers his work a personal system for reinventing everyday environments and networks.

Mario Torres, curatorial research Intern, is an MA student in art history at the City College of New York. Trained as an urban planner, Torres approaches the history of art and architecture using social studies as a point of entry to discuss the practice of architecture and its wide-ranging analogous representations. His thesis investigates how the collective body of project-based architectural designs and visionary urban schemes, presented at these exhibitions, offered an ominous vision of American public life in the twenty-first century.