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Biography

MARTHA BOTO
[1925 - 2004, Argentina / France]

“I have always been fascinated by the laws of harmony and equilibrium which govern the cosmos through interrelations of light and movement, space, time, and color.”

Born in Buenos Aires, Martha Boto was drawn to art as a young child, and her family supported her studies. Between the end of the 1930s and the beginning of the 1940s, she joined the first abstract art movements in Buenos Aires, including the Asociación Arte Nuevo. In 1944, she attended the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes “Ernesto de la Cárcova,” where she took classes in drawing and painting.

In the 1950s, Boto showed her work at several Buenos Aires galleries, including Van Riel and Galatea y H. She began to create structures and transparent mobiles in Plexiglas, with colored water, perhaps in dialogue with works being made around the same time by Gyula Kosice. In 1956, she (along with Gregorio Vardanega), co-founded the group Artistas No Figurativos de la Argentina.

In 1959, Boto and Vardanega moved to Paris, and she began a new phase of her career. In 1960, she participated in the first Bienal of Paris and she began to explore movement in sculpture. She developed her kinetic works during this time, adding a motor, or colored lights, to her sculptural practice, and focusing upon the effects of movement, illumination, and color; of especial interest was the ability to modify, absorb, and reflect light. To this end, she also began experimenting with different industrial materials, including aluminum and stainless steel. In 1961, she showed her works for the first time at the Denise René Gallery, in the group exhibition Art abstrait constructif international.  Art critics of the time described her works in relation to the genre of science fiction, and with the seeming magic of space travel. Her first solo exhibition at Denise René was in 1969.

Boto continued to work, making sculptures and paintings, through the early 2000s. Her works have been included in numerous important exhibitions, including most recently, Real/Virtual, Arte Cinético Argentino de los Años Sesenta, at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Lo[s] Cinetico[s] at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain.

She died in Paris in 2004.

SELECTED SOLO & GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2022
Light & Darkness, Power Collection, Chau Chak Wing Museum, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia
Tercer ojo, Colección Costantini en Malba, Transformar el dispositivo, Museo de Arte Latinoamerica de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina

2020
Color into Light, Connecting Currents: Contemporary Art at the Fine Arts Museum Houston in the inaugural installation of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, (MFAH), TX, USA

2017
An Open Mind, Maddox Arts, Mayfair, London, UK
Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954–1969, Palm Springs Art Museum, CA, USA

2016
Let's move, Patinoire Royale, Brussels, Belgium

2015
Un tournant | A turning point: Antonio Asis, Martha Boto, Horacio García Rossi, Hugo De Marziani, Gregorio Vardanega, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA
60 ans de Mouvement, 1ères Générations, Galerie Denise René, Paris, France

2013
Sculptrices, Villa Datris, Isle-sur-Sorgue, France
Les Sud américains, Galerie Denise René, Paris, France
Hommage à Denise René, Espace Expression, Miami, FL, USA

2012
Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA
Real/Virtual, Arte Cinético Argentino de los Años Sesenta, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Réflexion forme lumière, Galerie Denise René, Paris, France

2009
North Looks South: Building the Latin American Art Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA

2007
Lo[s] Cinetico[s], Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

2006
Contact: Le cyber-cosmos de Boto et Vardanega, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA
Light and Shadow, Galerie von Bartha, Basel, Switzerland
Formal Exchange, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA and Latin America

2005
Extreme Abstraction, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA
Brought to Light: Recent Acquisitions in Latin American Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA
Escultura - Objeto - Relecturas en la Colección del Museo de Arte Moderno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

2004
Moving Parts: Forms of the Kinetic, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland; Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria

2003
Geometrías Heterodoxas, Museo de Arte Moderno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

1998
The Eye's Pop: Op Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

1997
Saint-Lambert Post Office, Paris, France

1996
Galerie Argentine, Paris, France

1993
Espace Bateau Lavoir, Paris, France

1984
In the Mind's Eye: Systemic and Optic Art from the Permanent Collection, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

1978
Kinetic and Optic Painting and Sculpture from the Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

1976
Centre d’Action Culturelle Les Gémeaux, Paris, France

1972
Kinetic & Optic Painting & Sculpture in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

1969
Galerie Denise René, Paris, France
Contemporary Art Acquisitions 1966-1969, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

1967
Light Motion Space, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

1964
Maison des Beaux-Arts, C.R.O.U.S., Paris, France

1958
Galería H, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1957
Estímulo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1956
Galería Galatea, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1954
Galería Krayd, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1952
Galería Van Riel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Selected Public Collections

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia

Los Angeles County Museum of Art collection (LACMA), CA, USA

Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, France

Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Latinoamericano, La Plata, Argentina

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museu de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

Recklinghausen Museum, Recklinghausen, Germany

Rembrandt van Rijn Foundation, The Cape, South Africa

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel