First U.S. Museum Group Exhibition Of Contemporary Latin American Design


This exhibition features work that represents different aspects of the intersection of design, craft and art that can be observed in contemporary practice. This convergence of artistic practices reflects what the Italian designer Gaetano Pesce has described as a “new territory” in contemporary creativity. 

In order to encapsulate this new creative landscape production in Latin America New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America identifies several cities where the aspects of this “new territory” can be observed. These focus cities include Mexico City and Oaxaca in Mexico; Caracas in Venezuela; São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil; Santiago in Chile and Buenos Aires in Argentina; San Salvador in El Salvador and San Juan in Puerto Rico; and Havana in Cuba. These cities have been positioned as laboratories for such ideas such as:

Moving crafts into the future through collaborations with artists and designers

Conversations with artistic legacies 

Upcycling and repurposing objects

Cultivating collectivity and experimentation in design and craft

Developing new markets for design

Navigating personal and civic space

While each issue is specifically connected with a city laboratory, New Territories also demonstrates how the same issue can also be encountered in other locales—across borders and internationally. This reflects the dynamic nature of design, craft and art in Latin America and conveys a sense of the incredibly interactive character of contemporary creativity. It even allows the exhibition to challenge its own premise of representing what is “Latin American.”

New Territories is the first American museum group exhibition dedicated to contemporary Latin American design. Featuring more than 75 designers, artists, craftspersons, and collectives, #NewTerritoriesLab will survey the innovative, cross-disciplinary collaborations and new directions in creative production that have been occurring throughout Latin America since 2000. 

Organized by Lowery Stokes Sims, MAD's William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator, New Territories is part of the Museum's Global Maker's Initiative—a series of exhibitions, launched in 2010 with The Global Africa Project, that highlights creation from parts of the world often under-represented in traditional museum settings. New Territories was organized in conjunction with a Curatorial Advisory Committee that included noted experts in the field: Regine Basha, Marcella Echavarría, Susana Torruella Leval, Ana Elena Mallet, Nessia Leonzini Pope, Gabriela Rangel, Mari Carmen Ramírez, and Jorge Rivas-Pérez.

"New Territories represents an important first for MAD, examining the dialogue between contemporary trends and artistic legacies in Latin American art and design today," said Glenn Adamson, MAD's Nanette L. Laitman Director. "At MAD, we are committed to exploring making across all creative disciplines, and New Territories in its scope and ambition will bring together a broad cross section of skills, techniques, heritages, and creativity, revealing the universality of craftsmanship, whether practiced by a design professional or someone working within a long-standing craft tradition."

The exhibition title New Territories takes its name from a phrase coined by Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce, referring to the state of making in today's globalized society, where the boundaries between art, design, and craft have become increasingly blurred. Among the trends the exhibition will reveal is the commitment of Latin American designers and artists to work with indigenous craft persons to preserve their national heritage of skills. Many of these collaborations result in dynamic new work addressing a wide range of issues facing the region, from commodification and production, to urbanization, displacement, and sustainability.

"Design in Latin America today manifests a number of interesting aspects, from the direct translations of traditional craft skills into contemporary production to issues around upcycling and repurposing. New Territories will highlight a range of compelling cultural and economic trends impacting design in the region, offering a platform for exploration of these issues," said Sims. "In addition, the exhibition will feature many artists, artisans and designers not well known in the US, bringing exciting new talent to the fore, for both design professionals as well as general museum visitors."

Digital Strategy

A key component of New Territories is its ambitious digital strategy which includes this website and an active social media campaign. NewTerritoriesLab.org will serve as a hub for researchers interested in Latin American design, crafts, and art. Visitors will be able to access detailed pages for each artist featured in the show and explore the connections between them. The exhibit's social media campaign will include over 750 tweets, 40 Instagram posts, and 40 facebook posts. The exhibit has its own Twitter account (@NewTerritoriesL) and will feature regular content on MAD's Facebook and Instagram.

About the Museum of Arts and Design 

The Museum of Arts and Design (@MADmuseum) champions contemporary makers across creative fields, presenting artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill to their work. Since the Museum's founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum's curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving 21st-century innovation, fostering a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.

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