Art exhibits about Mexico and its battles for independence and just rule dominate new gallery openings this week, the opening salvos in a city-wide celebration that will include concerts, lectures and a festival over the next several months.
Arkansas Celebrates Mexico 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of "El Grito," the Sept. 16, 1810, call to arms delivered by a Roman Catholic priest that fueled the fight for independence from Spain, and the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Porfirio Diaz in 1910.
The newly renovated Galleries I and II at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Fine Arts Building will be hung with work by 28 Chicano artists in the exhibit "El Grito," which opens Aug. 16. Gallery director Brad Cushman and assistant Nathan Larson pulled together the work, which deals with identity and "notions of borders and boundaries," over the past year and a half. Included in the show will be glass and mixed media by brothers Jamex and Einar de la Torre (born Guadalajara, work in California), conceptual art by Camilo Ontiveros (born Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico, works in California), lithographs by Manuel Guerra (born El Paso) and work by muralist Jesus "Cimi" Alvarado (born in Juarez, raised in El Paso) and drawings by Hugo Crosthwaite (born Tijuana, works in California).
Also opening Aug. 16 at UALR is "Drawings of Mexico," an exhibit of drawings made by art department founder Louis Freund in the late 1950s at archeological sites in Mexico. That show is in Gallery III.
"El Grito" runs through Oct. 10, "Drawings of Mexico" through Sept. 22.
On Friday, Aug. 13, the Arkansas Studies Institute opens "Raices," a show of socially-conscious mixed media work by X3MX (formerly Ch3mex), an artist born in Mexico and raised in Jonesboro. The artist showed at the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative last year. ASI will host a reception for the artist from 5-8 p.m. as part of the 2nd Friday Art Night gallery walk.
Coming up: "A Century of Revolution: Mexican Art since 1910" at the Arkansas Arts Center on Sept. 1, featuring work by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Jose Guadalupe Posada, Manuel Manilla, Arnold Belkin, Pedro Coronel, Jose Luis Cuevas, Rocio Maldonado, Julio Galan and others. On Oct. 21, UALR will open the exhibit "Nosotras: Portraits of Latinas" in Gallery I.
Work by Americans who see the mainstream population as immigrants is on exhibit at Dr. J.W. Wiggins' Native American Art Gallery in the Sequoyah Research Center of UALR. "Traditional Native American Art of Oklahoma" features work done in the 1920s and '30s by Archie Blackowl, Blackbear Bosin, Woody Crumbo, Fred Beaver and others. The gallery, in University Plaza, rotates exhibits of work from Wiggins' extraordinary collection of 20th century and contemporary Native Americans. The show runs through Sept. 17.
The Bernice Garden and the Historic Arkansas Museum also have 2nd Friday Art Night events scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Bernice Garden, the sculpture plaza at the corner of Daisy Bates and South Main, will host Art in the Park, which will include art, locally-grown produce, food and beverages. HAM will open "Aspects of Abstraction," two-dimensional work by Donnie Copeland and woodwork by Gene Sparling, and feature live music by the Gentlemen Jazz.