Posted 12 days ago ago by Carol Schliesinger (Arts)
SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 1, 2019) – Long before sugar skulls and flowery skeleton became a pop culture phenomenon, Day of the Dead was celebrated each Fall by Mexican-American residents in San Antonio paying tribute to the relatives lost. To honor and celebrate those traditions, the Department of Arts & Culture is hosting two exhibitions celebrating Day of the Dead at Centro de Artes. The exhibits will open October 24. An opening reception will be held at Centro de Artes from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
“We are proud to showcase these exhibits that look at the Day of the Dead tradition from different angles,” said Yadhira Lozano, Chair of the Cultural Events and Exhibits Committee of the San Antonio Arts Commission. “These exhibits will bring visitors and residents more intimately in touch with the history and evolution of this bi-national celebration.”
The first floor will feature Day of the Dead in Art, curated by Dr. Ruben Cordova. The exhibition examines Day of the Dead through over 100 art objects made by more than 50 artists, most of whom are Mexican or Chicano.
"Day of the Dead is the product of complex interactions between multiple cultures over a span of 500 years, and much of the received knowledge about it is simply wrong,” says Dr. Cordova. “This exhibition critically examines the history of Day of the Dead with wall texts and over 100 artworks from Mexico and the United States."
The exhibition commences with a pristine group of vintage prints by José Guadalupe Posada and his contemporaries from the Lance Aaron Family Collection. It also includes a select group of prints by Luis Jiménez and two paintings by Vincent Valdez (including an early masterpiece that has never been exhibited before) from the Zoe Diaz collection. Gil Cardenas has lent a large group of works on paper by artists from Mexico and the United States, including Felipe Ehrenberg, Ester Hernandez, and Margaret Garcia. Many eminent San Antonio-based artists are represented in the exhibition, including Chicano pioneers such as Mel Casas and Cesar Martinez, as well as younger artists including Alex Rubio and Adriana Garcia. Roberto Gonzalez is exhibiting eight large scale paintings commissioned for the exhibition, including a diptych made in tribute to the victims of the recent mass shooting in El Paso. The exhibition concludes with a remarkable group of folk sculptures made by members of the Castillo Orta family from the state of Puebla, Mexico.
Centro de Artes will host a curator talk with Dr. Cordova on Thursday, December 5, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Ruben C. Cordova is an art historian and curator. He has researched Day of the Dead in Mexico and the U.S. for over 30 years. Dr. Cordova obtained his PhD from UC Berkeley.
On the second story of Centro de Artes, visitors will experience Día de los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past, Present & Future, presented by Self Help Graphics. The exhibit explores the evolution of the celebration in Los Angeles, the foundational transnational dialogue between the Chicano/Latino community and Mexico that continues to shape this tradition. The exhibit is curated by Linda Vallejo and Dr. Betty Brown.
Día de los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past, Present and Future gives context for the celebration at Self Help Graphics & Art, its origins and evolution into the iconic program we know in Los Angeles today. The catalogue includes four essays that dive into a deep history of the celebration’s roots, the innovation of Self Help Graphics & Art artists, the ongoing cultural exchange between the United States and Mexico and the importance of Self Help Graphics & Art community-based workshops and programming. Object images include seminal Día de los Muertos prints throughout the organization’s four-decade history, photographs, and ephemera.
Día de los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past, Present and Future is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, which took place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty.
Centro de Artes will host a gallery talk with curator, Linda Vallejo on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
Both exhibitions will be on view through January 19, 2020. The exhibition and all events are free and open to the public. Centro de Artes Gallery is located in Market Square and is Open Daily from 11am – 6pm.
For more information, visit www.sanantonio.gov/arts