OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Presents Colombia: A Work of Art; Our Legacies in the AMA Collection

By Editorial Team on July 18, 2022

Thu, 21 July 2022 - Mon, 29 August 2022

Eduardo Ramirez Villamizar (Colombia, b.1923, d.2004). Composicion Mecanica (Mechanical Composition, 1957). Oil on canvas. OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Collection




Opening: Thursday, July 21 from 6pm tO 8pm


This exhibition commemorates the visual arts of Colombia and the vital role they have played in the development of modern and contemporary art of the region. As an OAS member state, Colombia has engaged in a vibrant culturally diplomatic relationship with the organization and its Visual Arts Unit and subsequent Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, today the AMA.

As early as the first Inter-American Conference in 1889, Colombia has facilitated cultural exchange of the Americas, and was central to the establishment of the Columbus Memorial Library of the present-day OAS, a unique resource utilized by researchers to this day. The founding of the OAS in Bogotá in 1948 and the administration of its first Secretary General Alberto Lleras Camaro (1948-1954) coincided with the appointment of Cuban art critic José Gómez Sicre (b. 1916, d. 1991) as the first director of the OAS art program.

In 1948, Luis Alberto Acuña: Paintings from Colombia became the first solo exhibition by a Colombian artist at the OAS. The OAS acquired numerous outstanding Colombian works during Gómez Sicre’s tenure (1948-1982). These include Alejandro Obregon’s The Dead Student (The Vigil), recipient of the 1956 Guggenheim Award; Armando Villegas’s Panorama eléctrico (1958), exemplary of the artist’s distinctly Andean abstraction; Beatriz Echeverri’s Katty sculpture depicting the female form; and Fanny Sanín’s Acrylic No. 6, 1979 (1979), a fine rendering of her balanced and symmetric style; among numerous others, many seen here. To date, the AMA has accessioned 118 works of Colombia art into its collection.

As a cultural diplomat, José Gómez Sicre further developed the relationship between the arts of the hemisphere and Colombia, and was key to the establishment of Inter-American Museums of Modern Art in Cartagena and Barranquilla, opened in 1959 and 1960 respectively. As the director of the OAS art program, Gómez Sicre organized numerous exhibitions of work of Latin American artists exemplifying budding artistic trends of the day, many of whom held their first exhibitions in the United States at the OAS. In 1960, Gómez Sicre organized 3,000 Years of Colombian Art at the OAS Hall of the Americas and at the Low Museum in Miami and sponsored by the International Petroleum Corporation of Colombia.

During the subsequent directorships of Venezuelan Belgica Rogriguez (1988-1995) and Colombian Ana María Escallon (1995-2004), the collection expanded with works on paper by Maria de la Paz Jaramillo and, sculptural wall pieces by Olga de Amaral and Carolina Mayorga, and photographs by Gilma Suarez. Escallon’s time also coincided with the Cesar Gaviria Trujillo administration as OAS Secretary General (1995-2004), providing Colombia with the distinction of being the sole OAS member state to have provided two Secretaries General.

As a member state, Colombia has sought to strengthen and promote mutual admiration of the cultural legacies of the Americas as part of the region’s common history and mutual recognition. The OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas strives to promote the legacies of the rich and diverse arts of the region, as important elements of the hemisphere’s shared social fabric.

AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Organization of American States is located at 201 18th Street NW.  More information at  AMAmuseum.org or by dialing (202) 370-0147.