Purity is a Myth - The Materiality of Concrete Art from Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay Zanna Gilbert, Pia Gottschaller, Tom Learner, Andrew Perchuk

Getty Publications - (Yale)
Paperback / softback
Publication date:
24 Aug 2021
Getty Publications
336 pages: 250 x 150 x 15mm


Presenting new scholarship, this publication is the first comprehensive technical study of the Concrete art movement in Latin America. Purity Is a Myth presents new scholarship on Concrete art in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay from the 1940s to the 1960s. Originally coined by the Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg in 1930, the term concrete denotes abstract painting with no reference to external reality. Van Doesburg argued that there was nothing more real than a line, color, or plane. Artists such as Willys de Castro, Lygia Clark, Waldemar Cordeiro, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, Judith Lauand, Raul Lozza, Tomas Maldonado, Helio Oiticica, and Rhod Rothfuss would reinvent this concept in postwar Latin America. Drawing on research conducted by Getty and international partners, the essays in this volume address a variety of topics, including the general history, emergence, and reception of Concrete art; processes and color; scientific analysis of works; illustrated chronologies of the paint industry in Brazil and Argentina; and Concrete design on paper. As the first comprehensive technical study of the Concrete art movement in Latin America, this volume will be indispensable to scholars, practitioners, and students of Latin American art.

Zanna Gilbert is a senior research specialist at the Getty Research Institute.||Pia Gottschaller is a senior lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art.||Tom Learner is head of the Getty Conservation Institute's Science Department.||Andrew Perchuk is deputy director of the Getty Research Institute.