It’s been a big year for south London’s art’s scene. Bold Tendencies just opened its 10th annual open-air sculpture show on the rooftop car park in Peckham and this week, the Guggenheim Museum opened its first London-based exhibition at South London Gallery, bringing with them a roster of artists from Latin America in an exhibition titled, Under the Same Sun.
Guggenheim and SLG’s exhibition comes at a good time for the gallery. Just last week SLG announced that an anonymous philanthropist had donated the huge 19th century fire station located opposite them. The addition of the new building will double the size of SLG, giving new exhibition and studio space, as well as a public archive and an open kitchen.
Under the Same Sun is taking over SLG and the ground floor of the gallery’s new exhibition space, bringing with it art from Latin America to south London – home to one of the largest Latino communities in Europe. Surveying the contemporary art of Latin America, the show calls into question our notion of America in the process. Perhaps more than any other artist, Alfredo Jaar’s A Logo for America—which was previously shown in Time Square in 1987 and will be exhibited in Piccadilly Circus in July—challenges the dominance of the United States over its American neighbours.
Pablo León de la Barra, the Mexico City-based curator of the show, has brought together contemporary artists from the 1970s to present day in one show. Together they serve to highlight the commonalities between nations’ modern histories, repressive governments, economic crises, social inequality and concurrent periods of regional economic wealth, development and progress. There’s work from established artists like Gabriel Orozco (who had a show at Tate Modern in 2011) and Marta Minujín (the Argentinian performance artist), as well as new, site-specific works by the Costa-Rican artist, Frederico Herrero and the Argentinian performance artist, Amalia Pica.
In New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum is simultaneously showing an exhibition of works that shine a spotlight on the Middle East and North Africa and the region’s diaspora. But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise features Kader Attia’s meticulously assembled cous cous sculpture of the Algerian town of Ghardaia. Along with the museum’s No County exhibition—a showcase of contemporary artists from South and Southeast Asia—Under the Same Sun and But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise make up the Guggenheim UBS Global Art Initiative, which seeks to create direct access to contemporary art and education on a global scale.
Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong spoke about the museum’s intention to increase the representation of artists from outside Europe and North America in its collection. Since launching the initiative the Guggenheim have bought 126 new works from 88 artists and collectives from over 37 countries.
Under the Same Sun: Art From Latin America Today opens tomorrow until 4 September at South London Galleries & Fire Station. http://www.southlondongallery.org/