The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents the first major museum retrospective in New York devoted to the work of Gego, or Gertrud Goldschmidt (b. 1912, Hamburg; d. 1994, Caracas), offering a fully integrated view of the influential German-Venezuelan artist and her distinctive approach to the language of abstraction. On view through September 10, 2023, Gego: Measuring Infinity features nearly 200 artworks from the early 1950s through the early 1990s arranged chronologically and thematically across five levels of the museum’s rotunda. Included are sculptures, drawings, prints, textiles, and artist’s books, alongside photographic images of installations and public artworks, sketches, publications, and letters.
Born into a German Jewish family, Gego first trained as an architect and engineer at the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart (now Universität Stuttgart). Fleeing Nazi persecution in 1939, she immigrated to Venezuela, where she settled permanently, embarking on an artistic career in the 1950s that would span more than four decades. In two- and three-dimensional works across a variety of mediums, Gego explored the relationship between line, space, and volume. Her pursuits in the related fields of architecture, design, and education complemented those investigations.
Gego was one of the most significant artists to emerge in Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century, but her work remains lesser-known in the United States. Examining the artist’s formal and conceptual contributions, the exhibition grounds Gego’s practice in the artistic contexts of Latin America that transpired over the course of her lengthy career. It also considers her intersections with—and departures from—key transnational art movements including geometric abstraction and Kinetic art. Gego put forth radical ideas through her investigations of structural systems: transparency, tension, fragility, spatial relations, and the optical effects of motion are all methodically addressed in her singular body of work. Tracing a markedly individual artistic path, Gego defied categorization.
Gego: Measuring Infinity builds upon the Guggenheim Museum’s distinguished legacy of presenting groundbreaking modern and contemporary solo survey exhibitions that champion nonobjective art. A selection of this retrospective will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in the fall of 2023.
The exhibition is accompanied by a definitive catalogue that charts Gego’s artistic evolution. Designed by VACA, the studio led by Venezuelan graphic designer Álvaro Sotillo, a longtime Gego collaborator, and partner Gabriela Fontanillas, the publication includes approximately 300 images, 11 illustrated essays by experts in the field of modern and contemporary Latin American art, and a chronology of Gego’s life and career. Contextualizing the artist within the rich cultural milieus in which she lived and worked, it grounds her practice in various art movements that materialized in Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. during her lifetime. It also traces her significant contributions to architecture and design and considers the pedagogical influence of her two-decade teaching career in Caracas.
Furthermore, on May 12, 2023, the museum will offer Gego: Weaving Lines of Thought, a symposium on the artist’s work and career organized by exhibition cocurators Pablo León de la Barra and Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães. Featuring emerging and established scholars of modern and contemporary Latin American art, many of whom contributed to the exhibition catalogue, the program will highlight new research on Gego’s intersections with the fields of architecture, design, choreography, education, printmaking, and weaving, expanding on themes explored in Gego: Measuring Infinity. The program is part of the Guggenheim’s annual Latin American Circle Presents series.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s presentation of Gego: Measuring Infinity is cocurated by Pablo León de la Barra, Curator at Large, Latin America, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York, and Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães, Associate Curator, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York.
The museum is grateful for the close collaboration and support of the Fundación Gego, led by its directors, Tomás and Bárbara Gunz, as well as the foundation’s staff and board, who fully endorsed the exhibition.
Gego: Measuring Infinity is organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; and Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand—MASP. The exhibition was developed by Julieta González, Artistic Director, Instituto Inhotim, Brumadinho, Brazil; Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães, Associate Curator, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York; and Pablo León de la Barra, Curator at Large, Latin America, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York; in collaboration with Tanya Barson, former Chief Curator, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and Michael Wellen, Senior Curator, International Art, Tate Modern, London.
The Leadership Committee for Gego: Measuring Infinity is gratefully acknowledged for its generosity, with special thanks to Clarissa Alcock and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Chairs, as well as Edlis-Neeson Foundation, Dominique Lévy and Brett Gorvy, Catherine Petitgas, Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky, Adriana Batan Rocca, Peter Bentley Brandt, Maria Belen Avellaneda-Kantt, Alice and Nahum Lainer, Sicardi Ayers Bacino, Ana Julia Thomson de Zuloaga, and The Evelyn Toll Family Foundation.
Funding is also generously provided by The Kate Cassidy Foundation, The David Berg Foundation, The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation, The Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation, and Henry Moore Foundation.
Significant support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional funding is provided by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Latin American Circle.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is now among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit guggenheim.org.