Past Exhibitions

Making Art Concrete

Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

September 16, 2017 to February 11, 2018


The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049

In the years after World War II, artists in Argentina and Brazil experimented with geometric abstraction and engaged in lively debates about the role of the art work in society. Some of these artists experimented with novel synthetic materials, creating objects that offered an alternative to established traditions in painting. They proposed these objects become part of everyday, concrete reality and explored the material and theoretical limits of that proposition.

Combining art-historical and scientific analysis, experts from the Getty Conservation Institute and Getty Research Institute have collaborated with the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, a world-renowned collection of Latin American art, to research the formal strategies and material decisions of artists working in the concrete and Neo-concrete vein, resulting in the first comprehensive technical study of these works. Visitors will see a selection of works by artists including Raúl Lozza, Tomás Maldonado, Rhod Rothfuss, Willys de Castro, Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, and Judith Lauand alongside information about the now-invisible processes that determine the appearance of the works: supports, hanging devices, methods of paint application, and techniques of painting straight edges. A selection of historical documents will shed further light on the social, political, and cultural underpinnings of these artistic propositions.

The Getty is producing a three-part series for their audio podcast channel Art + Ideas detailing the development of this exhibition:

The Making of an Exhibition, Part 1
Tom Learner, head of science, and Pia Gottschaler, senior research specialist, at the Getty Conservation Institute, and Andrew Perchuk, deputy director of the Getty Research Institute, talk about the foundational research for this exhibition.

The Making of an Exhibition, Part 2
A talk with Pia Gottschaller, Andrew Perchuck, and Zanna Gilbert, research specialist, of the Getty Research institute, that focuses on the exhibition title, relationship between concrete art and poetry, and cultural context in which these works were made. 

The Making of an Exhibition, Part 3
In this final conversation, we meet the curatorial and conservation teams in the galleries to visit the show they’ve been working on for the past several years. We hear from the Getty Conservation Institute’s Tom Learner and Pia Gottschaller, the Getty Research Institute’s Andrew Perchuk and Zanna Gilbert, as well as the University of California, Riverside’s Aleca Le Blanc.


  • Juan Melé, (1923)

    Marco recortado N° 2 [Irregular Frame N°2]


    Oil on board

    71.1 x 50.2 x 2.5 cm

    The Museum of Modern Art. Promised gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the LACF

  • Rhod Rothfuss, Cuadrilongo amarillo [Yellow Quadrilateral], 1955

    Rhod Rothfuss

    Cuadrilongo amarillo [Yellow Quadrilateral]


    Paint on wood

    37 x 33 cm

    The Museum of Modern Art. Promised gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the LACF in honor of Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro

  • Judith Lauand

    Concreto 61

    Synthetic paint on board

    60 x 60 cm

    The Museum of Modern Art. Promised gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the LACF in honor of Robert Menschel & Janet Wallach

  • Judith Lauand, Quatro grupos de elementos (1959)

    Judith Lauand

    Quatro grupos de elementos


    Gouache on board

    59.8 x 59.9 cm (23 9/16 x 23 9/16 inches)

  • Willys de Castro

    Objeto ativo


    Gouache on paper on wood

    32.5 x 5.5 x 1 cm (12 7/8 x 2 3/16 x 3/8 inches)

  • Alfredo Hlito

    Ritmos cromáticos III [Chromatic Rhythms III]


    Oil on canvas

    100 x 100 cm

    The Museum of Modern Art. Promised gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund