Modern Love:A new series of e-books carries on theFundación Cisneros campaign to championthe under-told story of Latin american art.Thursday, February 14, 2013The Wall Street JournalWHEN A YOUNG VENEZUELAN media scion named Gustavo Cisneros came to Manhattanfrom Caracas with his wife, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, soon after they married in the 1970s,they found a fast friend in the form of David Rockefeller. The philanthropic banker had met thecouple after founding the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas, and soon invitedthem to join the International Council of New Yorks Museum of Modern Art. It was, as theirdaughter Adriana Cisneros de Griffin tells it, an eye-opening experience. "Everybody at MoMAknew about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo—that heavy Mexican art," says the 33-year-old.
"But my parents always had an affinity toward modernist works in Latin America. They realizedthat there were two stories of Latin American art, and only one that was known to the world."The revelation inspired them to create their own artistic organization, the Colección PatriciaPhelps de Cisneros, to encourage a better understanding and appreciation of Latin Americanart.Thirty years later, the original goals of the foundation have largely been realized. Adriana, whobecame the foundations president in 2009, points out that works by Latin-American artists nowhave a home at MoMA, where her mother sits on the board of trustees. And at any time thereare hundreds of works from their collection on loan around the world, including the largestexhibition of their pieces to date, which opened in January at Madrids Museo Reina Sofia.In February, the foundation launched its latest educational endeavor, a brainchild of Adrianas:a series of six e-books on influential Latin American artists (quotes and selected art from e-books at right) aimed at students and art fans alike. The Cisneros familys commitment tosharing its treasures with the rest of the world signals the kind of openness and transparencythat most collectors avoid. But, "we always like to say that were not the owners of thecollection, were the custodians of these works of art," says Adriana. "And thats a wholedifferent ball game."—Brekke FletcherIn addition to the Feb. 20 e-book launch of the first six books in the"Conversaciones/Conversations" series, all forthcoming titles will be published simultaneouslyin print and digital editions. For more information about the e-books,visit http://www.coleccioncisneros.org.