2021-2022 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture Five | Mari Carmen Ramírez

“Inverted Strategies: Building a Latin American Art Collection”

Click here to view a recording of the Wednesday, February 23 lecture.

We are pleased to welcome our speaker Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and founding Director, International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The establishment in 2001 of an endowed curatorial department together with a research center focused on Latin American and Latino art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, underscored the financial and ethical commitment of this institution with what was then a rapidly emerging field of scholarship and curatorial expertise. The most salient aspect of this multi-faceted program was the mandate to assemble a brand new collection of modern and contemporary art from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean as well as outstanding examples of US Latino art. Having started near zero, the collection today encompasses over 850 works of twentieth and twenty-first century art in all media by 250 artists. The organization of such a collection, in turn, illustrates both the challenges as well as the rewards at the core of what twenty years ago—particularly from the perspective of mainstream U.S. art museums—was still a rather “risky” field of collecting. In this talk Mari Carmen Ramírez will focus on some of the conceptual and practical issues posed by this collection-building effort while simultaneously introducing the audience to highlights of these unique holdings.

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