Art Museum of the Americas
|Art Museum of the Americas|
201 18th Street NWWashington, DC 20006
|Public transit access||Farragut West|
Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) is an art museum located in Washington, D.C., primarily devoted to exhibiting works of modern and contemporary art from Latin America and the Caribbean. The museum was formally established in 1976 by the Organization of American States (OAS). Artists represented in the AMA's permanent collection include Candido Portinari, Pedro Figari, Fernando de Szyszlo, Amelia Peláez and Alejandro Obregón.
The art collection of the OAS was initiated under the organization's Visual Arts Unit, beginning with the first donated artwork by the Brazilian neo-realist artist Portinari, in 1949. In the following decade the Permanent Council of the OAS determined to establish an acquisitions fund, in order to build up a permanent collection of artworks by significant contemporary artists from the member states of the OAS. A number of works were also purchased from or donated directly by artists, after the temporary exhibitions periodically held at the OAS gallery.
The Art Museum of the Americas itself was established in 1976 by Permanent Council resolution, on the occasion of the United States Bicentennial. The museum opened in what was formerly the official residence of the OAS Secretary General, a Spanish Colonial-style structure designed in 1912 by the architect Paul Cret.
Initially the permanent collection held some 250 artworks, expanding over the next quarter-century to over 2000 items of painting, sculpture, installations, photography, and drawing, from the early 20th century and onwards. In addition to its permanent collection of mainly Caribbean and Latin American art, AMA hosts temporary and special exhibitions from across the region, and provides educational seminars and lectures from invited speakers.
The Art Museum of the Americas has also expanded its programs to include evening events, such as Art After Dark, with cutting edge music, video, performance, and installation art.
The history of the permanent collection of the Art Museum of the Americas has roots in the former Visual Arts Unit of the Organization of American States. Under this unit, the first donation of art was received in 1949, a gift of painting by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari. In 1957 the OAS Permanent Council conferred institutional backing to the collection by establishing a modest Purchase Fund to support the acquisition of art for a collection that was to reflect the contemporary art of the member nations of the OAS to form an enduring cultural resource. Purchases made by the Visual Arts Unit were strongly linked to and influenced by the direction of its exhibition program, and a significant number of works were acquired directly from the artists on the occasion of a temporary exhibit at the OAS Gallery. In many cases, an OAS exhibition represented the artist's first individual exhibit outside of his/her country of origin.
When the museum officially opened in 1976, the collection numbered 250 works. Today, the collection has grown to close to 2000 objects in varying media including painting, sculpture, installations, prints, drawings and photographs.
Artists represented in the Art Museum of the Americas' permanent collection include:
- Carlos Cruz-Díez
- Pedro Figari
- Leonel Gonzalez
- Enrique Grau
- Humberto Ivaldi
- Roberto Matta
- Carlos Mérida
- Armando Morales
- Alejandro Obregón
- Amelia Peláez
- Emilio Pettoruti
- Héctor Poleo
- Candido Portinari
- Antonio Seguí
- Fernando de Szyszlo
- Joaquín Torres García
- José Antonio Velásquez
- Art Museum of the Americas, official website