The mission of the Latin American Art Department and its research institute, the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), is to collect, exhibit, research, and educate the public about the diverse artistic production of Latin Americans and Latinos. At the same time, the department and the ICAA endeavor to open new avenues of intercultural dialogue and exchange. The department was established in 2001, and in its first 10 years it organized 15 exhibitions; published 14 books and catalogues; and acquired more than 400 works of art. In 2010 The New York Times cited the 2004 exhibition Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America as one of the most important shows of the decade; in 2005, TIME magazine named curator Mari Carmen Ramírez one of “The 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America.”
The ICAA oversees the research that generates exhibitions and programs. The goal of its signature project, Documents of 20th-Century Latin American and Latino Art: A Digital Archive and Publications Project, is to provide a free, universally accessible digital archive of some 10,000 primary sources intended as a platform for the future growth of the field.
Among the major acquisitions of modern and contemporary Latin American art since 2001 are significant works by Antonio Berni, Carlos Cruz-Diez, León Ferrari, Gego, Gunther Gerszo, Beatriz González, Gyula Kosice, Oscar Muñoz, Alejandro Otero, Julio Le Parc, Armando Reverón, Mira Schendel, Xul Solar, Jesús Soto, and Joaquín Torres-García. In 2007, the museum acquired the Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, the most prestigious collection of post-WWII Brazilian art in private hands.
Color in Space and Time
February 6–July 4, 2011
A presentation of the MFAH and the Cruz-Diez Foundation, Houston, Color in Space and Time was the first large-scale retrospective for the work of pioneering Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (born 1923). More than 150 artworks created since the 1940s included paintings, silk-screen prints, and innovative chromatic structures; room-size chromatic environments, architectural models, and videos; and a virtual re-creation of the artist's studio. The exhibition catalogue, published by the MFAH and distributed by Yale University Press, traces the full trajectory of the artist´s career and is available at The MFAH Shop: 713.639.7360.
100 Highlights of the MFAH
Chromosaturation is an artificial habitat created by three different color chambers: one red, one green, and one blue. The habitat envelops whomever enters in a totally tri-stimulus environment. The chromatic ambience created by these booths modifies the spectator’s perception of everything in the room, changing skin color, clothing, and objects. As one moves from color chamber to color chamber, the reminder of the previous visual saturation shocks the retina.
Latin Maecenas is the first and only patron group in the Unites States dedicated to supporting and promoting the rapidly expanding fields of Latin American and Latino art. Members attend seminars and lectures, interact with important Latin American and Latino artists, and travel with curators to visit art collections, galleries, artists’ studios, and art fairs in Latin American and U.S. cities.