Celebrating Latin American Art at the Blanton this Fall

As you may have seen in the Houston ChronicleHyperallergic, and elsewhere, we are thrilled to share that the Blanton has been gifted approximately 120 modern and contemporary Latin American artworks from UT alumni Judy and Charles Tate of Houston. In addition, the Tates have made a major contribution towards the endowment that supports the museum’s Latin American curatorship. Their collection—the entirety of which will ultimately come to the Blanton—includes painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, and mixed media works by artists Tarsila do Amaral, Lygia Clark, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Mérida, Wifredo Lam, Armando Reverón, Diego Rivera, Alejandro Xul Solar, and Joaquín Torres-García, among others. Spanning the early 20th century to the present, the gift features many of the artists who were key to the creation of modernism in Latin America. 

Enio Iommi Línea continua, c. 1949-52 Stainless steel, 9 5/8 x 11 ¾ x 11 ¾ in. Promised gift of Judy and Charles Tate

Enio Iommi
Línea continua, c. 1949-52
Stainless steel,
9 5/8 x 11 ¾ x 11 ¾ in.
Promised gift of Judy and Charles Tate

For over fifteen years, the Tates have built a collection that complements the museum’s existing holdings of more than 2,100 Latin American objects. Highlights include: an ethereal painting by Armando Reverón from the 1920s; a 1946 graphite drawing by Frida Kahlo and a cubist period drawing by Diego Rivera; two paintings and an ink drawing by Wifredo Lam spanning his time in France in the late 1930s to his return to Cuba in the 1940s; a 1951 surrealist painting by Leonora Carrington; a 1953 glass mosaic by Carlos Mérida—a playful fusion of abstraction and figuration; mid-20th-century kinetic and concrete works by important artists Jesús Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Lygia Clark, Willys de Castro, Lothar Charoux, Mira Schendel, and Hélio Oiticica; and contemporary works by Fernando Botero, Waltercio Caldas, Jorge Macchi, and Sebastián Gordín.

From September 20, 2014 – February 15, 2015, the Blanton will present a selection of approximately 70 works from the collection. Entitled La línea continuathe exhibition takes its name from an elegant sculpture from the collection by Enio Iommi: a stainless steel “line” that traces an infinite loop in space. The work is also a fitting metaphor for the continual and nourishing connection between Judy and Charles Tate, the University of Texas, and the Blanton.

To bookend and contextualize the works in La línea continua, the Blanton has organized two counterpart installations that together span much of the history, culture, and geography of Latin America.

Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Painting from South America features seven paintings on loan from two of the country’s most distinguished collections of colonial South American art—the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, New York, and the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Collection, Chicago. The paintings, created in what are now the countries of Peru and Venezuela, represent devotions to Mary that were popular in Spain in the 17th and 18th centuries and brought to the Americas by Spanish colonists.

On the contemporary front, a selection of works from internationally recognized artist Doris Salcedo will be displayed. Salcedo addresses themes of loss and mourning with works that cross international boundaries. Employing domestic objects such as furniture and clothing—once activated and personal—her sculptures explore the history of violence and oppression in her native Colombia and beyond, giving voice to the marginalized, missing, or deceased.

Looking for more Latin American art from our collection? Visit our website, or check out our Pinterest board with works from the collection and the Tate gift. Don’t miss seeing these incredible works of Latin American art at the Blanton this season!

Lessons Learned from a Dead English Satirist

Your treat for today is a glimpse at William Hogarth: Proceed with Caution but the real trick is that once you visit the exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art, you might just learn something. What a fitting week for a lesson on William Hogarth’s grotesque and wicked prints written by the Blanton’s Catherine Zinser, curatorial associate and curator of the exhibition. The story below originally appeared on the Blanton blog.

Hoarders, spendthrifts, thieves, drunks, courtesans, gamblers, quack doctors, adulterers, and murders—this isn’t the new, fall TV line-up; this is what’s on view at the Blanton through Jan. 13, 2013. William Hogarth: Proceed with Caution exposes the sordid tales of several ne’er-do-wells in 18th-century London; but the message remains relevant to today’s audience. Don’t squander your money; don’t steal, lie or cheat; be honest and loyal; be kind to other people and to animals. Hogarth used printmaking as a means to steer society in a direction towards honor and riches. He contrasts virtuous lifestyles with ones fraught with corruption, ultimately leading to disgrace and dreadful consequences—typically, death. His message isn’t a subtle one.

William Hogarth print

William Hogarth, London, 1697-1764, The Reward of Cruelty, from The Four Stages of Cruelty, 1751, Etching with engraving, Paulson 190, third state of four Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1991.158

In the mid 1720’s Hogarth was commissioned to create “conversation” paintings—group portraits with sitters engaging in genteel, social activities such as card playing. Unlike other artists painting in this genre, Hogarth used wit and drama to create lively interactions between the sitters and the audience. He soon saw the potential to pioneer a new genre—sequential art. Precursors to comic books, sequential artwork tells a story through a series of compositions. The five printed series on view at the Blanton are some of the finest visual narratives in this genre.

Hogarth print series example

William Hogarth, London, 1697-1751, Beer Street and Gin Lane, 1751, Etching and engraving, Paulson 185-186, third states of four Jack S. Blanton Curatorial Endowment Fund, 2005.166-167

Hogarth does for 18th-century London what Shakespeare did for the Elizabethan era. Through his prints we know what sort of pastimes society engaged in and what people wore; he references contemporary gambling halls and taverns, newly published literature, current stage productions, and infamous criminals and prostitutes. Hogarth’s artwork serves as a window to London in the 1750’s.

Continue reading about Hogarth on the Blanton blog …

“Follow” Us Into A World Wide Web of Art

What better way to learn about the museum field than to experience it up close and behind-the-scenes? The Blanton Museum of Art benefits greatly from having undergraduate and graduate interns and research assistants. We welcome and encourage students from all backgrounds to apply. Below is a story by Alana Rooke, a University of Texas at Austin art history sophomore and summer public relations intern at the Blanton. [Read more…]