Latino artists to shine at Museum this summer in Smithsonian show

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2016

 

                                      LATINO ARTISTS TO SHINE THIS SUMMER IN OUR AMERICA
                                                   Allentown to host traveling Smithsonian exhibition

Allentown, PA—This summer the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley will celebrate the extraordinary creativity of Latino artists by presenting Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, a major collection of modern and contemporary Latino art on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Opening on Sunday, June 26, and continuing through October 2, the exhibition presents eighty-nine works by seventy-one artists who participated in various artistic styles and movements. Fifth Street will be closed in front of the Museum on opening day as Hector Rosado y Orquesta Haché performs outside, while inside the Museum admission is free noon–4 p.m., a panel discussion with Our America artists happens at 1 p.m., and free tours in both English and Spanish are led starting at 2 p.m. (For a schedule of all programing related to the exhibition, see below.)

Artists featured in the exhibition—which begins in Trexler Hall and continues upstairs in Scheller, Rodale, and Fowler Galleries—reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States, including those of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican descent as well as other Latin American groups with deep roots here. By presenting works by artists of different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among Latino artists. (For complete details of the exhibition, go to www.AllentownArtMuseum.org and click on the Our America banner.)

“The relationship between Latino art and the larger world of American art in the post-War period is not simple or clear cut,” said E. Carmen Ramos, curator of the exhibition and of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, who will be in Allentown to speak about Our America on September 11 (see below). “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. Others artists wholeheartedly embraced abstraction. An even larger group inhabited multiple worlds, infusing avant-garde modes with politically and culturally engaged themes.”

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.

• An audio tour of select works in Our America is available online at www.OurAmerica.gallery or by phone at 610-628-2232.

• An exhibition catalog is available in the Museum Store for $40 and includes essays by scholar Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and curator E. Carmen Ramos.

• For updates and images from the show, follow the Museum on Twitter and Instagram (#OurAmerica) at @AtownArtMuseum and on Facebook at AllentownArtMuseum.

CREDITS
Our America 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.

Our America has been supported at the Allentown Art Museum through the generosity of the Air Products Foundation, the Amaranth Foundation, the Bernard and Audrey Berman Foundation, the Century Fund, the County of Lehigh, the Estelle Browne-Pallrand Charitable Trust, the Harry C. Trexler Trust, the Julius and Katheryn Hommer Foundation, the Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation, the Rider-Pool Foundation, Rodale, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and our Museum Friends.
 

About the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley
The Allentown Art Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that participates in the cultural, educational, and economic life of the Lehigh Valley. Defined by a unique combination of tradition and innovation, our collections, educational partnerships, collaborative and community based programs, and exhibitions are dedicated to inspiring the broadest possible public engagement, access, and service. For more information please visit AllentownArtMuseum.org.

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries. Its National Historic Landmark building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W. in Washington, D.C, above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed December 25). Admission is free. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website: americanart.si.edu.

Captions for attached photos:
Oscar R. Castillo, ‘47 Chevy in Wilmington, California, 1972, printed 2012, inkjet print. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment. © 2012, Oscar R. Castillo

Carlos Almaraz, Night Magic (Blue Jester), 1988, oil. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of GloriaWerner. © 1988, Carlos Almaraz Estate

 

Media Contact:
Chris Potash
(610) 432-4333 ext 125 cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org

Programing Related to Our America

CONTINUING: JUNE 26 through OCTOBER 2
Sundays @ 2 p.m.
Free guided tours of Our America in English.

Sundays @ 2:15 p.m.
Free guided tours of Our America in Spanish.

Sundays @ noon–3 p.m.
Story Station
Every American family has its own unique story about immigration and/or assimilation in this country. Visitors can stop in any Sunday during Our America and Museum staff and share their family history and photographs that document the family’s movement to and through America. Each week at least one story will be shared on the Museum’s social media networks. Free

Thursdays @ 4–8 p.m.
Art @ Night
Every Thursday evening, admission to the galleries is free from 4 till 8 p.m., with free docent-led tours of Our America in English at 6 p.m. on June 30, July 7, July 21, and August 4 through September 29 (except September 8).

ALSO
Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays
July 1 through August 20
¡Viva! Summer Children’s Workshops
12:30–3 p.m.
Kids ages 6–12 will experience art and culture up close while exploring Our America over eight weeks. Each session includes a gallery tour and hands-on project. Adults enter free with the purchase of a child’s ¡Viva! pass: $5 members, $10 nonmembers per class. Kidspass allows admission to all workshops: $35 members, $50 nonmembers. Preregistration recommended: 610-432-4333 ext 138.
Themes by week:
Week 1: Then and Now • Explore Latino American history and American identity from various artists’ perspectives.
Week 2: Migrating through History • See how some artists use layered or dreamlike imagery to explore themes of displacement, exile, and hope.
Week 3: Visual Boom • Try your hand at graphic design and printmaking, thriving modes of Latino artistic and activist expression.
Week 4: Moment of Truth • Find out how words and images can mean more than meets the eye.
Week 5: Street Life • See how artists transform the cities in which they live, and learn how you can make your mark on your own community!
Week 6: POP! • Explore how some artists included in Our America put everyday objects or cultural traditions into a new context.
Week 7: What is Normal? • Beyond straight forward portraits, learn how some artworks in Our America reflect on and react to cultural stereotypes.
Week 8: We Interrupt This Message • Investigate mass culture around the mid-twentieth century, and see how it impacted artists at the time.

Scholarships for summer family programs are supported by a generous grant from the Allentown Art Museum Auxiliary. For info call 610-432-4333 ext. 138.

SPECIAL EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

June 25 (Saturday)
Members’ Preview of Our America
6–8 p.m.

Museum members get a look at the exhibition before it opens to the public on Sunday, June 26. Members only

June 26 (Sunday)
Opening day celebration of OUR AMERICA
Noon-4 p.m.—Free admission

To welcome our members and the neighborhood to the opening of Our America we are closing down Fifth Street in front of the Museum and throwing a party. From 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 to 3:30 p.m., percussionist Hector Rosado and his Orquesta Haché will play two sets of conga-driven salsa. In between, 2:15–2:45 p.m., singer and performer Celeste Polaco will demonstrate how to dance to a Latin beat. Admission to the Museum is free today and every Sunday thanks to generous support from CrossAmerica Partners LP, the Gadomski Foundation, the Society of the Arts (SOTA), and the Sylvia Perkin Charitable Trust.

1 p.m.
Panel discussion: “Where Is Latino Art in American Art?”
Four artists whose work is included in Our America discuss the Latino “presence” on display in the exhibition and beyond. Free, but seating is limited. Call 610-432-4333 ext 110 or go to TicketLeap.com to reserve.

PANELISTS
Freddy Rodríguez
was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic, in 1945, and immigrated alone to New York City at age eighteen, where he immersed himself in the city’s contemporary art scene.

iliana emilia garcía makes large-format drawings on canvas and paper along with installations, prints, and digital photos on canvas. She received her AAS from Altos de Chavon/The School of Design in her native Dominican Republic and her BFA in Communication Design from Parsons The New School of Design.

Inspired by the political teachings of Pedro Albizu Campos, Malcolm X, the Young Lords, and the Black Panther Party, Juan Sánchez first gained recognition for his brightly hued mixed-media paintings addressing issues of Puerto Rican life both in the United States and on the island.

Ken Gonzales-Day is a Los Angeles–based artist whose Searching for California Hang Trees series, Walking Tour of Los Angeles Lynching Sites series, and his 2015 short film, Run Up, have brought little-known histories to light

MODERATOR
Elvis Fuentes
is an associate curator at El Museo del Barrio, New York, and has also served as curator at the Institute of Culture of Puerto Rico and the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba.

July 5 (Tuesday)
Screening of La Nana @ Civic Theatre
7:30 p.m.

The Museum continues its partnership with Civic Theatre of Allentown with this series of Tuesday-night films from Latin American filmmakers in conjunction with Our America. Tonight’s movie is La Nana (The Maid, Chile, 2009), the story of a maid called Raquel who has worked for more than twenty years in one affluent Chilean household and rediscovers herself. The movie illuminates a microcosm of Latin social hierarchy while also focusing on one woman's journey to free herself from a mental servitude of her own making.

The movie is screened at Civic Theatre of Allentown, 527 North Nineteenth Street, Allentown. Tickets are $8 for Museum and Civic members with ID, $10 general admission. Advanced purchase available at www.CivicTheatre.com.

July 14 (Thursday)
Art @ Night—Angel Suarez-Rosado leads tour of OUR AMERICA
6 p.m.

Angel Suarez-Rosado is an Easton-based artist who has been featured on the PBS series Art 21 and whose work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and New York’s New Museum. He dedicates his artistic process to bridging the cult magic he experienced in his years growing up in Puerto Rico to an aesthetic that honors his past and makes it relevant to his life now. Tonight, Angel will lead a tour of the special exhibition Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. Free

July 19 (Tuesday)
Screening of El Hijo De La Novia @ Civic Theatre
7:30 p.m.

The Museum continues its partnership with Civic Theatre of Allentown with this series of Tuesday-night films from Latin American filmmakers in conjunction with Our America. Tonight’s movie is El Hijo De La Novia (Son of the Bride, Argentina, 2001). At age forty-two, Rafael Belvedere lives in the shadow of his father, feels guilty about rarely visiting his aging mother, his ex-wife says he doesn't spend enough time with their daughter, and he has yet to make a commitment to his girlfriend. A minor heart attack reunites him with Juan Carlos, a childhood friend, who helps Rafael reconstruct his past and look at the present in new ways.

The movie is screened at Civic Theatre of Allentown, 527 North Nineteenth Street, Allentown. Tickets are $8 for Museum and Civic members with ID, $10 general admission. Advanced purchase available at www.CivicTheatre.com.

July 28 (Thursday)
Our America, Our Stories storytelling performance
7 p.m.

Using Our America as inspiration, artist-in-residence Lisa Facciponti is directing a storytelling workshop throughout the month of July with groups at the Museum and at a local community center whose constituency serves Spanish-speaking families and older adults. On July 28, workshop participants will share their stories. Free for Museum members, $5 for museum nonmembers or free with a canned good donation to benefit a local food pantry. This project was made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

July 31(Sunday)
Puerto Rican Day Parade tours
9 a.m.–noon

The Museum will be open early today so paradegoers can see Our America, which includes works by eleven self-identified Puerto Rican artists. Free admission, free tours in English and Spanish all morning, and complementary cool beverages in our Café for paradegoers.

August 2 (Tuesday)
Screening of Contracorriente @ Civic Theatre
7:30 p.m.

The Museum continues its partnership with Civic Theatre of Allentown with this series of Tuesday-night films from Latin American filmmakers in conjunction with Our America. Tonight’s movie is Contracorriente (Undertow, Peru, 2009). In this unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside, a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town's rigid traditions.

The movie is screened at Civic Theatre of Allentown, 527 North Nineteenth Street, Allentown. Tickets are $8 for Museum and Civic members with ID, $10 general admission. Advanced purchase available at www.CivicTheatre.com.

August 3 (Wednesday)
50 Minutes (Tour + Lunch)—Our America
Noon

The Museum’s vice president for curatorial and education, Elaine Mehalakes, leads a tour through Our America, followed by lunch in the Museum Café. Members $15, nonmembers $20. Call 610-432-4333 ext. 110 to reserve.

August 16 (Tuesday)
Screening of Y Tu Mama Tambien @ Civic Theatre
7:30 p.m.

The Museum continues its partnership with Civic Theatre of Allentown with this series of Tuesday-night films from Latin American filmmakers in conjunction with Our America. Tonight’s movie is Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too, Mexico, 2001). Two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a Mexican road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.

The movie is screened at Civic Theatre of Allentown, 527 North Nineteenth Street, Allentown. Tickets are $8 for Museum and Civic members with ID, $10 general admission. Advanced purchase available at www.CivicTheatre.com.

August 18 (Thursday)
Screening of Inocente @ the Museum
6 p.m.

Told entirely in her own words, Inocente is a coming-of-age documentary about the determination of a Latina teenage artist who struggles with homelessness, undocumented status, and poverty to win recognition for her whimsical, colorful artworks. Presented in conjunction with the SouthSide Film Institute of Bethlehem, Inocente is the winner of the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. This movie is shown in the Museum’s Auxiliary Auditorium, 40 minutes running time. Free

August 21 (Sunday)
Pepón Osorio on the Puerto Rican presence in American art
1 p.m.

Our America artist Pepón Osorio talks about his cultural background and how it has informed/affected his art. Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, he was educated at the Universidad Inter-Americana and later at Herbert H. Lehman College in New York, receiving an MA from Columbia University in 1985. Osorio’s pieces usually evolve from interactions with the neighborhoods and people among which he is working. He says, “My principal commitment as an artist is to return art to the community.” He lives in Philadelphia. Free

September 7 (Wednesday)
50 Minutes (Tour + Lunch)—Our America
Noon

Take in a tour of Our America and lunch with Tashima Thomas, who specializes in the art of the African diaspora in the Americas with a focus on race, gender, and sexuality. She holds a B.A. in art history from the University of Houston and an M.A. in art history from San Diego State University. Members $15, nonmembers $20. Call 610-432-4333 ext. 110 to reserve.

September 8 (Thursday)
Art @ Night—Ricardo Viera and Alejandro Anreus lead free tour of OUR AMERICA
6 p.m.

Every Thursday the Museum’s galleries are open till 8 p.m., with free entry after 4 p.m. Tonight at 6 p.m., explore two diverse perspectives of the exhibition Our America in a gallery walk with Ricardo Viera, director of Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG), and Alejandro Anreus, professor of art at William Patterson University. Free

September 11 (Sunday)
E. Carmen Ramos on “What is Latino about American Art?”
1–2:30 p.m.

Learn how Latino artists working since the mid-twentieth century have participated in American art movements and recalibrated key themes in American art from the curator of Our America. E. Carmen Ramos is curator for Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago, cocurated the biennial at El Museo del Barrio in New York City in 2007, and has organized exhibitions about Mexican popular arts. Free

September 22 (Thursday)
Free performance by El Sistema
6 p.m.

See—and hear—the transformative power of music! El Siestema Lehigh Valley presents a performance by faculty members and their talented students. El Sistema is a public music-education program founded in 1975 in Venezuela by musician and activist José Antonio Abreu with the goal of creating great musicians while dramatically changing the life trajectory of hundreds of children from all backgrounds. Free

October 2 (Sunday)
Closing day celebration of Our America
11 a.m.–5 p.m.: art activities inside the Museum
Noon–7 p.m.: Regalo Cultural outside in Arts Park (Fifth and Court Streets)

As part of the festivities on closing day of Our America, the Museum is participating in Regalo Cultural (gift culture), a one-day festival of arts and cultures that brings together four of the approximately nineteen Latino communities in Lehigh County—Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Columbian—to celebrate cultural diversity and traditions. Stop by inside and outside the Museum for live music, creative-arts workshops, food kiosks presented by local ethnic restaurants, and, of course, the art. (If it rains, some activities will move inside the Museum.) Admission to the Museum is free today and every Sunday thanks to generous support from CrossAmerica Partners LP, the Gadomski Foundation, the Society of the Arts (SOTA), and the Sylvia Perkin Charitable Trust. For a list of closing-day performers and activities, visit AllentownArtMuseum.org.

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