Museum spotlight: Art Museum of the Americas

Located near the Washington Monument in D.C., The Art Museum of the Americas is the oldest museum of modern and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Art in the United States.

The museum originates from the Visual Arts Unit of Pan-American Union and mid-20th century art in Latin America and the Caribbean. Many of the artistic trends shown in the museum developed in Latin America including conceptual, optical and kinetic art.

The Art Museum of the Americas is a three level museum, the first is just a small lobby with information. A spiral staircase leads to  two levels of breathtaking art. The top floor of the museum is filled with windows that have spectacular views of D.C. buildings and the Washington Monument.

One of the first exhibits is the Bestiary, a collection that focuses on the connection between humans, nature and animals. Bestiary holds photographs, drawings and paintings of birds, people and other animals.

Topologies is a collection of many photographs and other expressive pieces on the top floor of the museum. A wall wide composition of photocopy, collage, polaroid and acrylic on paper by Bernado Krasiansky is one of the largest pieces in the museum. The contrasting colors and added saturation make this work of art unique.

Topologies also contains artworks that show the true life of the people who live in third world countries. It speaks to important histories of individual and collective movement across the Americas, encompassing sites of memory, abstractions and trauma.

The Tierney Gallery of New York, The Chile Embassy and the Permanent Mission of Chile host Gorge Tacla, Identifies Ocultas Collection on the second floor of The Art Museum of the Americas. The works were inspired by the events that the artist faced throughout his life.

Tacla lived through a political coup in Chile during the 1970s and he saw firsthand the social and political consequences of the coup. Tacla also witnessed the 9/11 terror attacks which forced him to deal with horror, mass destruction and devastation on an international level. Hidden Identities is based on the complicated relationship between victim and aggressor and the process of how guilt is assigned.

There are six galleries within the museum and  all exhibitions feature modern and contemporary art from artists of the Americas that emphasize OAS (Organization of America) themes such as democracy, development, human rights, justice, freedom of expression and innovation. The artwork displayed is chosen based on its quality and if it follows the museum’s mission.

There is a small sun room with colored bricks, and Latin American designs and details. The room has huge glass doors that the museum opens during the week. The opened doors reveal an astounding fountain and garden landscape.

The Art Museum of the Americas hosts photo contests two to three times a year. The museum also holds events to support children’s organizations, music and other art programs. The museum is most busy between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. so be sure to get there early!