Bogota: Hernan Diaz retrospective

Fernand Léger’s map of Colombia.

If for some reason you need another reason to visit Bogotá soon, here it is. There is currently a retrospective of the late famed Colombian photographer Hernán Díaz on display in Bogotá.

Hernán Díaz is a Colombian treasure. The photographer, who passed away in November 2009, was loved for his portraits of Colombian artists and other important cultural figures. There are the labored, precise photographs of his own cohort of artists, besuited men who reveal little. Then there are the more joyful images of actors, artists, politicians, and other figures from the artist’s later years.

Some credit Díaz with single-handedly raising the profile of Cartagena among Colombians. Prior to the publication of a book in 1972 by Díaz on Cartagena’s people and sights, the city had little standing in the country. It was simply a neglected colonial city on the country’s sweltering Caribbean coast, a forgotten backwater. Díaz considered Cartagena his adopted home and spent a great deal of energy documenting it.

To round out the focus on Colombia and various forms of documentation, there is also a set of male nudes included in the exhibit. Lastly, there are a number of images of a vanquished New York City, including one of a Horn & Hardat food service automat.

Anyone visiting the city shouldn’t miss the opportunity to obtain a look at modern Colombian history. This intense retrospective of Hernan Diaz’s works at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá is open through January 15.