Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art

October 24, 2013 — March 2, 2014

Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and F Streets, NW)

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-twentieth century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art. It explores how Latino artists shaped the artistic movements of their day and recalibrated key themes in American art and culture.

The exhibition presents works in all media by 72 leading modern and contemporary artists. Of the 92 artworks featured in the exhibition, 63 have been acquired by the museum since 2011, representing its deep and continuing commitment to collecting Latino art. Our America includes works by artists who participated in all the various artistic styles and movements, including abstract expressionism; activist, conceptual, and performance art; and classic American genres such as landscape, portraiture, and scenes of everyday life. Latino artists across the United States were galvanized by the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They created new images of their communities and examined bicultural experiences. Many critically probed American history and popular culture, revealing the possibilities and tensions of expansionism, migration, and settlement. Other Latino artists in the exhibition devoted themselves to experimentation, pushing the limits of their chosen medium. “Our America” presents a picture of an evolving national culture that challenges expectations of what is meant by “American” and “Latino.”

Artists featured in the exhibition reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States. Our America showcases artists of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican descent, as well as other Latin American groups with deep roots in the United States. By presenting works by artists of different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among artists working across the country.

The 72 artists featured in the exhibition are ADÁL, Manuel Acevedo, Elia Alba, Olga Albizu, Carlos Almaraz, Jesse Amado, Asco (Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón and Patssi Valdez), Luis Cruz Azaceta, Myrna Báez, Guillermo Bejarano, Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez, María Brito, Margarita Cabrera, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Melesio “Mel” Casas, Leonard Castellanos, Oscar R. Castillo, José Cervantes, Enrique Chagoya, Roberto Chavez, Carlos A. Cortéz, Marcos Dimas, Ricardo Favela, Christina Fernandez, Teresita Fernández, iliana emilia garcía, Rupert García, Scherezade García, Carmen Lomas Garza, Ignacio Gomez, Ken Gonzales-Day, Hector González, Luis C. “Louie the Foot” González, Muriel Hasbun, Ester Hernandez, Judithe Hernández, Carmen Herrera, Carlos Irizarry, Luis Jiménez, Miguel Luciano, Emanuel Martinez, María Martínez-Cañas, Antonio Martorell, Ana Mendieta, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Delilah Montoya, Malaquias Montoya, Abelardo Morell, Jesús Moroles, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Pepón Osorio, Amado M. Peña Jr., Chuck Ramirez, Paul Henry Ramirez, Sophie Rivera, Arturo Rodríguez, Freddy Rodríguez, Joseph Rodríguez, Frank Romero, Emilio Sánchez, Juan Sánchez, Jorge Soto Sánchez, Rafael Soriano, Ruben Trejo, Jesse Treviño, John M. Valadez, Alberto Valdés, and Xavier Viramontes.

The exhibition is organized by E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Latino Art Now! Conference

The Smithsonian is hosting the conference Latino Art Now! November 7–9, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The conference is a biennial forum for artists, historians, scholars, and educators. Registration is required. Information is available online through the Smithsonian Latino Center.

National Tour

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art is traveling to eight cities across the United States:
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami, Florida (April 2, 2014 – June 22, 2014)
Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California (September 21, 2014 – January 11, 2015)
Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City, Utah (February 6, 2015 – June 28, 2015)
Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, Arkansas (October 16, 2015 – January 17, 2016)
Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, Delaware (March 5, 2016 – May 29, 2016)
Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania (June 26, 2016 – October 2, 2016)
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida (October 27, 2016 – January 22, 2017)
Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee (February 17, 2017 – June 4, 2017)

Book

A beautifully illustrated book accompanies the exhibition’s national tour. The catalogue includes essays by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, independent scholar; and E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The book won a 2014 Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators. Visit the museum’s online shop to order the publication.

Credit

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Altria Group, the Honorable Aida M. Alvarez, Judah Best, The James F. Dicke Family Endowment, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Tania and Tom Evans, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, The Michael A. and the Honorable Marilyn Logsdon Mennello Endowment, Henry R. Muñoz III, Wells Fargo, and Zions Bank. Additional significant support was provided by The Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Support for Treasures to Go, the Museum’s traveling exhibition program, comes from The C.F. Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia.

Night Magic (Blue Jester) - 2011.12 - 1a

Carlos Almaraz, Night Magic (Blue Jester), 1988, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Gloria Werner © 1988, Carlos Almaraz Estate