Latin American Art


Latin American Art

Art of the Americas, Level 4: Artworks on view

In 1997, the collectors Edith and Bernard Lewin added more than two thousand works by Mexican modernists to the collection, making LACMA one of the main U.S. repositories of Latin American art. The museum has since expanded its collection with works from throughout Latin America, ranging from the colonial to the contemporary periods. The modern collection includes works by Diego Rivera, Roberto Matta, and Rufino Tamayo. Postwar and contemporary artists represented include Francis Alÿs, Hélio Oiticica, and Jesús Rafael Soto.

Francis Alÿs

Virgin of Guadalupe (Virgen de Guadalupe)
Manuel de Arellano
Folding Screen with Indian Wedding and Flying Pole (Biombo con desposorio indígena y palo volador)
c. 1690
Messengers in the Wind (Mensajeras en el viento)
Rufino Tamayo
Coca Box (Coquera)
Bolivia, Moxos or Chiquitos
c. 1770

Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz

In 2007 LACMA acquired a group of six paintings by the Mexican painter Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz. When LACMA acquired the works they were covered with a yellow varnish layer that obscured the contrast and tonality of the original colors and flattened the perspective. Once removed, the illusion of space and depth returned, revealing the work of a thoughtful and highly skilled artist. This video documents the process of conserving Morlete's pictures.—Ilona Katzew, Curator of Latin American Art, LACMA

Now on View: A New Work by the Great Juan Correa

Just last week we acquired our first work by the great Juan Correa (1645–1716), considered along with Cristóbal de Villalpando (circa 1649–1714) to be one of the leading painters of Mexico in the late 17th century. Correa, the son of a famous Spanish surgeon and a freed black woman, was one of the few mulatto artists who achieved fame despite his racially mixed background. (The art of painting was generally considered the purview of white or Spanish masters.) His two mural-sized canvases for the sacristy of the Mexico City’s cathedral (1691–98), for example, are regarded as masterpieces of the Mexican baroque…


“Only if It Bothers You”: Ruminations on the Display of Latin American Art

At a recent event I had the chance to sit next to actor Cheech Marin. We talked about his collecting of Chicano art, the enduring struggles of Latino artists to gain recognition, and the persistent need to classify and categorize artists who are traditionally not considered part of the mainstream. One anecdote particularly stayed with me: he related how when John Valadez was once asked if he considered himself a Chicano artist, he wryly retorted, “Only if it bothers you.” This, I thought, is much more than an exacting punch line...