Revisiting the Conservative

16 april to 15 june 2019

 

 

The Vargas Museum returns with its fifth iteration of its Art History Series exhibiting works from the Vargas collection curated based on art historical methods.

 

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The series strengthens the museum's efforts to continuously situate and contextualize its collection within today's social setting through the interaction between curatorship and art history.

 

 

 
Revisiting the Conservative presents the realist traditions of painting idyllic scenes and themes exploring the Philippine landscape from the 1940s to the 1970s. The conservative as a category marks a particular stylistic tendency in Philippine art history. In terms of source, it can be traced to the academic realism of the nineteenth century that found its most prominent articulation in the exalted works of Fernando Amorsolo. It has been cast as a binary opposite of modernism as advocated by the practice of such artists as Diosdado Lorenzo and Victorio Edades.
 
A body of polemical texts and institutional history sustains this interpretation even as the binary might not hold under a closer reading of the works and a more thoughtful appreciation of the artistic biographies of the practitioners, who slip in and out or even away from art history's order of things. In the possession of the collection of Jorge Vargas is a trove of pieces that exemplifies this conservative disposition. The latter would later be identified, or even conflated, with commercial art sold on Mabini Street, thus the term "Mabini Art". The exhibition scans the shift of realism in Philippine art as well as expressions of the supposed antithesis of the privileged modern.
 
The exhibition consists of works by artists such as Elias Laxa, Romeo Enriquez, Cesar Buenaventura, Crispin Lopez, Serafin Serna, Miguel Galvez, Isidro Ancheta, Antonio Dumlao, Wenceslao Garcia, Gabriel Custodio, Ben Alano, Simon Saulog, and Diosdado Lorenzo.