Latin American and Latino Art at the Allen

September 2, 2014 through July 19, 2015
Ellen Johnson Gallery

The first modern work of Latin American art entered the collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM) in 1936, forming the basis of a diverse group of more than 200 modern and contemporary works by artists from 12 countries. This academic year, the museum will feature its Latin American collection in a comprehensive exhibition organized by Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Denise Birkhofer.

The works range from Mexican Revolution-era prints to recent conceptual installations. Organized into thematic groupings—religion and the sacred, immigration and exile, and death and violence, for example—many of the works are on view at the AMAM for the first time.

The exhibition showcases the breadth and quality of a collection shaped, not only as a result of purchases, but also through gifts from individual collectors who championed Latin American art of the 20th and 21st centuries. During the 1940s, philanthropist and suffragist Lucia McCurdy McBride donated five important works by Mexican artists, most notably José Clemente Orozco’s Mexican House. She also facilitated, in 1947, the AMAM’s purchase of Diego Rivera’s colorful Portrait of a Girl. In the 1970s, Leona E. Prasse donated lithographs by Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, three artists known as los tres grandes (the three giants), whose public murals have come to define the Mexican Revolution.

The AMAM continues as an active collector today. New works in a variety of media reflect major movements in modern art, such as abstraction, as well as cultural practices and political concerns unique to Latin America.

A 112-page color catalogue has been produced to accompany the exhibition and can be purchased at the museum or through mail order. More information on the catalogue can be found here.

Related Events, Spring 2015:

Oberlin College Science Center, 119 Woodland Street, Oberlin
Dye Lecture Hall (A162)

Artist and activist Alfredo Jaar, who left his native Chile in 1981 at the height of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, gives a lecture titled “It Is Difficult.” Jaar is known internationally for politically charged works that often call attention to genocide, military violence, and the imbalance of power between industrial and developing nations. Join us for a reception in the AMAM’s East Gallery following the talk.

Jaar's talk is funded, in part, through the Ellen H. Johnson Endowed Fund for Contemporary Art, and is co-sponsored by Latin American Studies.

Wednesday, April 1, 4:30 p.m.
Lecture—‘To Be And/Or Realized:’ Edgardo Antonio Vigo’s Artistic Practice

Mudd Center (Room 050), 148 West College St.

Vanessa Davidson, Shawn and Joe Lampe Curator of Latin American Art, Phoenix Art Museum, will speak on the Argentine artist who helped to pioneer the mail art movement. Presented in conjunction with an exhibition of mail art at Oberlin College’s main library, An Exercise in Freedom: the Mail Art of Edgardo Antonio Vigo, which runs from March 30 through June 5.

April 2, 5:30 p.m.
First Church of Oberlin, 106 North Main St.
Haitian artist Edouard Duval-Carrié gives a lecture titled "Comments on the North Caribbean Visual Landscape" in conjunction with Latin American and Latino Art at the Allen. The exhibition features his 1998 painting Justicia, which refers to the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1803.

Duval-Carrié's talk is funded, in part, through the Ellen H. Johnson Endowed Fund for Contemporary Art, and is co-sponsored by Latin American Studies and Africana Studies.

Tuesday, April 14, 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday Tea
Denise Birkhofer, curator of modern and contemporary art, will give a talk titled “The Legacy of mexicanidad: Neo-Mexicanism at the amam.” She will focus on works by Diego Rivera, Adolfo Patiño, and Nahum Zenil on view in the exhibition Latin American and Latino Art at the Allen.

Tuesday, April 21, 4:30 p.m.
Artist Talk—Art and Change:
The Space in Between
Art Building, Classroom 1

Margarita Cabrera’s 2006 soft sculpture titled Platinum Blue Bicycle, which deals with themes of immigration and mobility, is on view at the amam. Cabrera’s talk is co-sponsored by programs in Hispanic studies, Oberlin Center for Languages and Cultures, PRESHCO, Latin American studies, and comparative American studies.

The AMAM gratefully acknowledges program support from the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Edward Duval-Carrié (Haitian, b. 1954)
Justicia, 1998
Oil on canvas with aluminum frame
Gift of Jerry M. Lindzon, 2012.6.6