Public Art and Modernity

Another Narrative

  • Maria José de Azevedo Marcondes INSTITUTO de ARTES - Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brasil


The article analyzes public art works carried out and implemented in the 30s and 50s of the 20th century, in Latin American cities - São Paulo, Mexico and Buenos Aires; which constitute emblematic artistic works of the establishment of modernity in the aforementioned cities. These are the sculptures – “Monument to the Flags, by Victor Brecheret (implementation -1953), “Satellite Towers”, by Luis Barragán and Mathias Goeritz (implementation - 1958) and “Obelisk”, by Alberto Prebisch (implementation -1936) ; artistic works registered and protected as cultural heritage in different institutional spheres. The article presents the aesthetic references and the historical-social context of the aforementioned works and discusses the contemporary narratives about these works in the perspective of a new writing of the historiography of the visual arts. The analysis incorporates the theoretical framework that we can call “revised modernity”, circumscribing it with the contributions of the concepts of cultural transfer and cultural circularity; which seek the integration of knowledge from traditional and vernacular cultures with the erudite. It also aims to discuss the complexity of the notions - modernity and colonity - through visual and symbolic readings, erased or alive, according to an analysis carried out in a decolonial perspective of culture. It is concluded that the works of the artists and architects Victor Brecheret, Luis Barragán, Mathias Goeritz and Alberto Prebisch point to different narratives in contemporary times, although these three works were considered in historiography as establishing modernity in their respective cities.

How to Cite
Marcondes, M. J. (2020). Public Art and Modernity. CAP - Public Art Journal, 1(2), 8 - 17.