Pop Art, As Seen and Done by Latino and Latin American Artists

November 26, 2018

An assumption is often made that that certain art movements were developed exclusively within one specific context and influenced only the following generation of artists belonging to the same. It is also known that Pop Art was groundbreaking and highly influential phenomenon, but what is perhaps still unknown is that a great number of artists around the globe appropriated the same framework and produced extraordinary works which sometimes went beyond the propositions of the style.

Such is the case with the Pop art production of Latino and Latin American artists working at the same time as their peers from the States, whose contributions to the movement were great. In order to reevaluate their domains, the McNay Museum decided to host an exhibition Pop América, 1965–1975, in collaboration with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Hugo Rivera-Scott - Pop America
Hugo Rivera-Scott, Pop América, 1968. Collage on cardboard. Courtesy of the artist. © Hugo Rivera-Scott. Photo by Jorge Brantmayer.

The Pioneering Project

The guest curator Esther Gabara, a professor at Duke University, worked on a several years long extensive and groundbreaking research on this subject matter. She was eager to introduce a new historical reading of aesthetic innovations in the US, the social inclusiveness and alleged political neutrality of Pop Art.

Furthermore, this is the first exhibition to present a vision of Pop throughout the Americas, raising a question about the domains of cultural flexibility and constant exchange. This underrepresented area of art history is finally properly analyzed and reveals Latin America’s rich artistic heritage.

Left Judith F Baca - Las tres Marías Right Marisol Escobar (known as Marisol) - Mi mama y yo
Left: Judith F. Baca - Las tres Marías (The Three Marias), 1976. Colored pencil on paper mounted on panel with upholstery backing and mirror. Collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Museum purchase made possible by William T. Evans, 1998.162A-C. © 1976, Judith F. Baca. Image courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC/Art Resource, New York, New York / Right: Marisol Escobar (known as Marisol) - Mi mamá y yo (My Mother and I), 1968. Steel and aluminum. Collection of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. Bequest of Marisol, 2016. © All rights reserved, Estate of Marisol Escobar. © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Installment

The exhibition features almost one hundred works from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. in order to reconsider the expansion of Pop Art through a dialog which transcends national borders, ethical and aesthetic differences.

The works of artists such as Judith Baca, Jorge de la Vega, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein, reflect the unifying power of Pop’s bold visual strategies, and show even the contributions to conceptualism, performance, and new media art, as well as critically engaged agendas on social protest, justice movements, and debates about freedom.

Elena Serrano and OSPAAAL - Dia del guerrillero heroico
Elena Serrano (artist) and OSPAAAL (publisher), Dia del guerrillero heroico (Day of the Heroic Guerrilla), 1968. Offset print on paper. Collection of the Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC. Gift of Gary Yanker; 1975–1983.

Pop América at the McNay Museum

By revealing an array of overlaps of the production of North American and Latin American artists, this exhibition tends to contextualize Pop Art as a global movement operating in both the center and periphery.

It is important to underline that the exhibition is a recipient of Sotheby's Prize and is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. It is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and produced with a great help of the Institute for Studies on Latin American ART (ISLAA) and to its President and Founder, Ariel Aisiks.

Pop América, 1965-1975 will be on display at the McNay Museum in San Antonio, USA will be on display until 13 January 2019, and then it will travel to the Nasher Museum of Art, while its final presentation will be shown at the Block Museum at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois.

  Editors’ Tip: Pop América, 1965–1975

Pop América, 1965–1975 accompanies the first traveling exhibition to stage Pop art as a hemispheric phenomenon. The richly illustrated catalogue reveals the skill with which Latin American and Latino/a artists adapted familiar languages of mass media, fashion, and advertising to create experimental art in a startling range of mediums. In a new era in hemispheric relations, artists enacted powerful debates over what “America” was and what Pop art could do, offering a radical new view onto the postwar “American way of life”.

Featured image: Juan José Gurrola, Familia Kool Aid (Kool Aid Family) from Dom-Art, c. 1966–1967. Photographic slide. Courtesy of the Fundación Gurrola A.C. and House of Gaga, Mexico City, Mexico, and Los Angeles, California.