The Delaware Art Museum presents “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art,” now on view through May 29. This traveling exhibition features the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The show highlights the growing collection of modern and contemporary Latino art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and presents a picture of an evolving national culture that challenge expectations of “American” and “Latino.” â€¨
“Our America” presents 92 works in all media by 72 leading modern and contemporary artists. Artists featured in the exhibition reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States and include those 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 from different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among artists working across the country. Bilingual guides and wall labels will be available to visitors while the exhibition is on view.
“It is particularly exciting to share ‘Our America’ with the Wilmington community and to explore how it connects with the museum’s collections,” says Heather Campbell Coyle, the Delaware Art Museum’s Curator of American Art. “The exhibition will also be accompanied by a rich slate of programming for families, school groups, and adults.”â€¨The show explores how Latino artists shaped the artistic movements of their day and re-calibrated key themes in American art and culture, including those galvanized by the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They created new images of their communities, examined bicultural experiences, and critically explored 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 by pushing the limits of their chosen medium. “Our America” includes works by artists who participated in 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.â€¨â€¨
“The relationship between Latino art and the larger world of American art in the post-War period is not simple or clear cut,” says E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “Some artists, influenced by the activism of Latino civil rights movements, turned away from pure formalist discourse to tackle the pressing issues of the day. Other artists wholeheartedly embraced abstraction. An even larger group inhabited multiple worlds, infusing avant-garde modes with politically and culturally engaged themes.”
For more, visit delart.org.