The ending of one cycle and the beginning of another—for both the collection and for me.” That is how Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro characterizes his leaving the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, where he was curator of Latin American art, to become director of the Venezuela-based Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC).
The 37-year-old Spanish-born Pérez-Barreiro, who also organized the recent Mercosur Biennial in Brazil, takes over one of the world’s foremost collections of Latin American art, with strengths in colonial works, indigenous art from the Orinoco region, postwar geometric abstraction and contemporary art, including masterworks by Jesús Rafael Soto and Lygia Clark.
During Pérez-Barreiro’s five years at the Blanton, he helped build its Latin American collection. He also worked closely with Cisneros, a trustee at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, to curate the recent CPPC-based exhibition “The Geometry of Hope,” which drew rave reviews when it opened at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery this past fall. “The CPPC has been on a 10-year mission at venues across the Americas to change the way people think about Latin American art,” Pérez-Barreiro says. “That battle has been won. The question now is, What to do with this incredible resource? We are not burdened by a museum, and Patty is consistent, astute and supportive. We start with a clean slate.”
"Due South" originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of Art+Auction. For a complete list of articles from this issue available on ARTINFO, see Art+Auction's March 2008 Table of Contents.