A line that birds cannot see”: Mexican/​US Art and Artists Crossing Borders in the 20th Century

Friday, November 3, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

Gouache on paper of a carnival.

Rufino Tamayo, Carnival [Carnaval], 1936, gouache on paper, 15 x 22 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2017.22 © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo by Greg Page/Page One Studio 

A Symposium held in conjunction with the exhibition Tamayo: The New York Years

The Smithsonian American Art Museum presents a symposium exploring the meaningful interactions between Mexican and US art and artists during the twentieth century. Taking Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo’s story as a point of departure, the program features new scholarship about the role of folk and indigenous art of the Americas in Pan-American modernism, sites and agents of intercultural exchange, the dynamics between Mexican and US art during the Cold War, and the fertile relationship between Chicano and Mexican artists.

The title of the symposium is taken from Alberto Ríos’s poem “The Border: A Double Sonnet” (2015) and invokes the notion that art and ideas transcend political boundaries between nations and people.

Symposium Webcast Playlist


The Latino Initiatives Pool of the Smithsonian Latino Center provided support for this symposium.