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Day of the Dead Exhibits Coming to Centro de Artes Gallery

Posted 1 years 101 days ago ago by Carol Schliesinger (SAMHD)


Day of the Dead Exhibits Coming to Centro de Artes Gallery

Two individually curated exhibits examine the history of the celebration


SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 18, 2019) – The City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture is hosting two exhibitions celebrating Day of the Dead at Centro de Artes. The exhibits will open October 24 with an opening reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.


I am proud to have Centro de Artes showcase two exhibitions on Day of the Dead, a much-loved but often misunderstood holiday,” said Yadhira Lozano, Chair of Centro de Artes Committee of the San Antonio Arts Commission. With the holiday being produced in the US and often for commercial purposes, it is of great importance to shed light and provide insight into how the holiday is celebrated in Mexico and in the US by Chicanos who have embraced this holiday as a way to reconnect with their ancestors, family legacies and identity.”


The first floor will feature The Day of the Dead in Art, curated by Dr. Ruben Cordova, an art historian and curator who has researched Day of the Dead in Mexico and the U.S. for more than 30 years. The exhibition examines Day of the Dead with 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 artworks from Mexico and the United States."


Works featured in the exhibit include vintage prints by José Guadalupe Posada and his contemporaries from the Lance Aaron Family Collection, prints by Luis Jiménez, and two paintings by Vincent Valdez from the Zoe Diaz collection (including an early masterpiece that has never been exhibited before). Works on paper, on loan from Gil Cardenas, showcase the work of artists including Felipe Ehrenberg, Ester Hernandez, and Margaret Garcia. In addition, the exhibition highlights a remarkable group of folk sculptures made by members of the Castillo Orta family from the state of Puebla, Mexico.


Many eminent San Antonio-based artists are also represented in the exhibition, including Mel Casas, Cesar Martinez, Alex Rubio and Adriana Garcia. Roberto Gonzalez created eight large scale paintings for the exhibition, including a diptych made in tribute to the victims of the recent mass shooting in El Paso.

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 and 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.


Lead curator, Linda Vallejo consolidates multiple international influences to works that investigate contemporary cultural, spiritual and political issues. Vallejo’s solo exhibitions have been presented throughout the country. Her work can be found in various permanent collections in Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Illinois, Oxnard, California, and Santa Barbara, California. Co-Curator, Betty Ann Brown, is an art historian, critic, and curator. She has a Ph.D. in the History of Art and teaches at Cal State Northridge and Pasadena City College. Brown is trained in Ancient Latin American art history, with focus on Aztec art, and now works with contemporary art as well.


The exhibit highlights the artists, community members and organizations that built a Chicanx-centered platform for people to connect, express themselves and build community. The collection includes prints, photographs, and ephemera from over four decades of crafting Día de los Muertos for Los Angeles.


Día de los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past, Present and Future is part of the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA collaboration, 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.


Additionally, the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture has commissioned San Antonio artist, Audrya Flores, to create an altar in honor of Dr. Alfonso Chiscano who died on August 27, 2019. The altar will be on display on the second floor of the gallery.


These exhibitions are part of the Centro de Artes Gallery 2019-2020 exhibit schedule. In 2018 the Department of Arts & Culture hosted a national open call for exhibitions and related programming for Centro de Artes, as part of the strategic plan developed for the gallery in collaboration with the community in 2017. The Centro de Artes committee, a subcommittee of the San Antonio Arts Commission, reviewed and scored 20 of the submitted qualified proposals. Ten of those proposals were selected for the 2019-2020 exhibit schedule.


Both exhibitions will be on view through January 19, 2020. Centro de Artes will host talks with each exhibit curator, first with Linda Vallejo on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and then with Dr. Cordova on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.


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 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit




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Tuesday, March 2, 2021