My parents, Patty and Gustavo Cisneros, founded the Fundación Cisneros (FC) and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC), a collection of art from Latin America, forty years ago, instilling in my siblings and me a profound sense of our shared responsibility to promote education, and the awareness of the breadth and depth of Latin America’s contribution to global arts. Both the FC and the CPPC, crucial to this mission, have always been “in motion”—that is, responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the moment—and, in the case of the CPPC, literally in motion, as the collections have travelled the world for exhibition and study. In the course of these fluid exchanges, we have been fortunate to have many collaborators, both institutional and individual, building many bridges along the way.
As the FC and CPPC enter their fifth decade of existence, we can see that the future holds many opportunities for movement in new directions. Digital media has opened doors in ways my parents could not have dreamed of in the 1970s, and the CPPC’s website (www.coleccioncisneros.org) is now a dynamic gathering place for ongoing discussions and scholarship about art and ideas from Latin America. Through our long association with various institutions, we have gained an understanding of their holdings and missions and have worked with them to donate works from the CPPC that complement their goals and permanent collections.
The Museum of Modern Art in NY is one of these institutions. At MoMA, modern and contemporary works from the CPPC have found a home in one of the world’s preeminent collections of art from Latin America. The endowment of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America at MoMA was announced in the fall of 2016, and I am delighted to say that the appointment of Inés Katzenstein as the inaugural Director of the Cisneros Institute has been recently announced by the museum.
Katzenstein, a scholar and curator who worked at MoMA at the beginning of her illustrious career, will oversee the programming and administration of the Cisneros Institute and will also be a Curator of Latin American Art at the museum. (Katzenstein is also, incidentally, one of the interlocutors in the CPPC’s bilingual Conversations/Conversaciones books; she is presented in conversation with Argentine artist Liliana Porter.) The Institute will engage visiting scholars and fellows, present symposia and lectures, and design educational programs and publications. The establishment of the Cisneros Institute, to be housed within MoMA’s mid-town campus, will ensure that Latin American artists continue to be studied and considered in the context of the global history of art. Where we will go from there will be exciting to see.