Smithsonian’s “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art” opens at the Arkansas Arts Center

Last week marked the opening of “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art” at the Arkansas Arts Center, an exhibit organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Consisting of modern and contemporary art, the display is expansive and covers all media – from film to painting to sculpture, among others – and was organized by E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian.

This exhibit runs the gamut in styles and movements, including abstract expressionism, portraiture, conceptual and performance art, and classic American styles. Seventy-two artists are represented throughout the show, which tackles political issues such as civil rights and the distribution of wealth, as well as pure abstraction and representations of everyday life. Artists in the exhibit take their roots from all over – Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic ­– as well as the U.S.

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In the ‘60s and ‘70s in the US, Latino artists began to exhibit wide-spread bicultural experiences through their work, and thus, when walking through the exhibit, one must constantly question what it means to be “American” or “Latino.”

Featured work includes Luis Jimenez’s “Man on Fire,” a fiberglass sculpture made from processes used to create boats. You can’t miss Amalia Mesa-Bain’s “An Ofrenda for Delores Del Rio,” an installation piece celebrating the popular actress who was both beloved by the US and Mexico.

The exhibit is in both English and Spanish, and coincides with the supporting film series, “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.” Every Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Lower Lecture Hall an episode will be shown with an accompanied lecture by UALR’s Dr. Kristin Mann. Click here to see other supporting programs for “Our America.”

The traveling exhibit will stay in Little Rock until Jan. 17, 2016. See “Our America” on Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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Smithsonian’s “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art” opens at the Arkansas Arts Center