• Beyond the Supersquare
    Holly Block, María Ines Rodríguez, and Sergio Bessa
    Bronx Museum of the Arts
    May 01, 2014 to Jan 11, 2015
    Bronx Museum of the Arts

Mauro Restiffe, Empossamento #4, 2003. Courtesy of the artist.

Beyond the Supersquare examines the legacy of Modernist architecture in Latin America and the Caribbean—a highly understudied topic of architectural and urban history in the US—through the unique perspective of living artists whose work reinterprets this celebrated moment of architectural production. Focusing on major urban centers in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela from the 1920s through the 1960s, Beyond the Supersquare's exhibition, publications, and site-specific installation reflect and provide new platforms for the utopian ideals expressed in modern architecture from this region while evaluating the successes and challenges that make this period distinctive from its northern counterparts. The project advances existing discourse within the fields of architectural and urban studies through this innovative approach, applying fresh perspectives through the lens of contemporary visual arts production to the historical narratives, social conditions, and political climate that affected the urban landscapes of this period.

As executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts since 2006, Holly Block has led the New York City cultural institution through a period of major programmatic and structural expansion, including the implementation of the institution's universal free admission policy in 2012. Her recent projects include an exhibition of new works by artist Sarah Sze for the US Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, for which Block served as cocurator. Between 2010 and 2012, Block oversaw smARTpower, a partnership between the Bronx Museum and the US Department of State that sent eighteen American artists to fifteen countries around the world to execute art projects in direct collaboration with members of local communities. Prior to her role at the Bronx Museum, Block was the executive director of Art in General, a nonprofit organization in lower Manhattan dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by contemporary artists.

María Ines Rodríguez is an independent curator and founding editor of Tropical Paper Editions, a project dedicated to developing artists' editions. Until 2013, she was chief curator at Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, where she curated solo exhibitions by Teresa Margolles, Nicolas Paris, and Yona Friedman. Between 2009 and 2011, she was chief curator at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain, where she was also director of the collection Arte y Arquitectura. She has also been curator of the satellite program at Jeu de Paume (2008–09), and editor of the French art publication Point d'Ironie. Currently, she lives and works between Mexico City and Berlin.

Sergio Bessa is director of programs at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. A distinguished curator, Bessa has organized several critically acclaimed exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including Intersections: the Grand Concourse at 100 (2008) at the Bronx Museum, which was funded in part by the Graham Foundation; Re: La Chinoise, Baumgartner Gallery, New York (2002); and Animating Fahlström, Institut d'Art Contemporain, Lyon, France (2002). He is the author of Öyvind Fahlström: The Art of Writing, Architectures of Poetry (2008). Bessa received a PhD in art education from New York University.

Founded in 1971, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is a contemporary art museum that connects diverse audiences to the urban experience through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, and education programs. Reflecting the borough's dynamic communities, the museum is the crossroad where artists, local residents, and national and international visitors meet.