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Purity Is a Myth: The Materiality of Concrete Art from Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay

Edited by Zanna Gilbert, Pia Gottschaller, Tom Learner, and Andrew Perchuk

Presenting new scholarship, this publication is an innovative technical study of the Concrete art movement in Latin America.

Purity Is a Myth presents new scholarship on Concrete art in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay from the 1940s to the 1960s. Originally coined by the Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg in 1930, the term concretedenotes abstract painting with no reference to external reality. Van Doesburg argued that there was nothing more real than a line, color, or plane. Artists such as Willys de Castro, Lygia Clark, Waldemar Cordeiro, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, Judith Lauand, Raúl Lozza, Tomás Maldonado, Hélio Oiticica, and Rhod Rothfuss would reinvent this concept in postwar Latin America.

Drawing on research conducted by Getty and international partners, the essays in this volume address a variety of topics, including the general history, emergence, and reception of Concrete art; processes and color; scientific analysis of works; illustrated chronologies of the paint industry in Brazil and Argentina; and Concrete design on paper. An innovative technical study of the Concrete art movement in Latin America, this volume will be indispensable to scholars, practitioners, and students of Latin American art.  

Zanna Gilbert is a senior research specialist at the Getty Research Institute. Pia Gottschaller is a senior lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Tom Learner is head of the Getty Conservation Institute’s Science Department. Andrew Perchuk is deputy director of the Getty Research Institute.

336 pages
7 x 10 inches
193 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-723-9

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Research Institute
Series: Issues & Debates