Denver Art Museum’s New Curator of Pre-Columbian Art

From: the Denver Art Museum


Concluding an international search, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) is proud to announce Victoria Lyall as the new Frederick & Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art. Lyall, a seasoned former curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), will oversee the DAM’s pre-Columbian art collection, which represents nearly every major culture in Mesoamerica, Central America and South America. She will join Frederick & Jan Mayer Curator of Spanish Colonial Art, Jorge Rivas Pérez, in the museum’s New World department.

Victoria Lyall, DAM’s new Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art.
Victoria Lyall, Denver Art Museum’s new Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art. Photo courtesy of Matt Patterson.

“Victoria’s scholarly depth, multifaceted experience, bilingual ability and connection to the younger generation will be vital assets to the museum’s pre-Columbian art collection,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Her commitment to incorporating community voices and interactive elements into exhibitions fits with our overarching vision for the institution. We are delighted to welcome her to Denver.”

Lyall joins the DAM from San Francisco State University’s museum studies program where she has been an associate professor since 2014. At the university, she developed classes that bridged theory and practice, including exhibition design and curation, and lent her curatorial expertise to the university’s new Global Museum. In her classes, Lyall examines how museums are addressing global community needs and the impact new technologies and online audiences have on museums globally. Prior to taking the university post, Lyall had a successful 10-year career at LACMA, advancing from a curatorial assistant to the associate curator of art of the Ancient Americas. During her tenure, Lyall oversaw the reinstallation of the Ancient Americas permanent collection galleries and facilitated the development of a Mellon Foundation-funded project, a research institute and a postdoctoral curatorial fellowship dedicated to the Ancient Americas collection.

“In my opinion, two aspects distinguish the Denver Art Museum from other institutions,” said Lyall. “First, the DAM’s pre-Columbian holdings stand as one of the world’s most significant collections and complement the museum’s Colonial masterpieces. I am thrilled to join curator Jorge Rivas and together explore the New World’s rich and complex history. The ability to place the ancient past in dialogue with the colonial and modern Americas is particularly important here in Denver, a vibrant and an increasingly Latino city. Second, the steadfast institutional support for scholarly research and publication, thanks to the generosity of Jan Mayer and her late husband Frederick, ensures that the museum will continue to push the field forward and disseminate the latest discoveries to its audiences.”

Lyall has organized exhibitions that have been shown at LACMA, Dallas Museum of Art and the Fowler Museum at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), including The Painted City: Art from Teotihuacan (2015), The Ancient Maya World: Masterworks from the Permanent Collection (2014), Chupícuaro: The Natalie Wood Gift of Ancient Mexican Ceramics (2013) and Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico (2012), which she co-curated with Drs. Virginia Field and John Pohl. Her curatorial research spans the breadth of ancient American cultures from Olmec to 16th century Tenochtitlan and Cuzco. A former Fulbright scholar, Lyall conducted extensive fieldwork in southern Mexico, particularly in the Yucatan peninsula, on 9th and 10th century murals. She has traveled extensively throughout Latin America for research and maintains an extensive, professional network of colleagues and cultural foundations throughout Latin America and Europe.

Lyall earned her Ph.D. in pre-Columbian art history from UCLA, a master of fine arts in art history from Tulane University and a bachelor of arts in history of art and anthropology from Yale University. She will take on her role as the new Frederick & Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art on Jan. 25, 2017.

About the Denver Art Museum’s Pre-Columbian collection

The New World department of pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art at the DAM was established in 1968, bringing together pre-Columbian (before 1492) and Spanish Colonial objects from Latin America. Today the department’s combined collections are some of the finest of their type in the United States and cover a time span from about 1200 B.C. to the present. In many areas, its holdings are the most comprehensive outside the countries of origin. At no other museum in the Americas can visitors appreciate and compare stylistic movements from all the major artistic centers of Latin America.

Media Resources

About the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit

Download PDF of press release.


Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion

New York City, NY
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Future Funk Fashion

On View: June 14, 2016 – November 26, 2016

El Museo del Barrio is pleased to present an exhibition on the work of the fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez (1943-1987). This exhibition will explore various aspects of the work of this important artist, developing thematic sections that focus on high fashion illustration, his relationship to particular models, his shoe and jewelry designs, and images of people he came to know and love from the streets of New York City.

Antonio Lopez was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico on February 11, 1943. The family migrated to New York City when Antonio was seven and he attended P.S. 77 on East 104th Street. To keep her son off the streets, Lopez’s mother, a seamstress, would ask him to draw flowers for her embroideries. He also helped his father, a mannequin maker, to apply make-up and stitch wigs on the figures. At the age of twelve, Lopez earned a scholarship to the prestigious Traphagen School of Fashion in New York, which provided Saturday programs for children. He went on to attend the High School of Art and Design. Upon graduation, Lopez was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Lopez went on to illustrate fashions for Women’s Wear Daily and The New York Times and eventually became a free-lance artist for many of the top fashion publications, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Andy Warhol’s Interview. He is known to have “discovered” or formed lasting friendships with women like Pat Cleveland, Tina Chow, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones and Jessica Lange. He collaborated with the noted designer Charles James, creating an illustrated inventory of Charles’ fashion designs (now in the collection of the Chicago History Museum). With his friend and business partner, Juan Ramos, Lopez moved to Paris where they both worked with Karl Lagerfeld and many other designers.

Through his work, Lopez made great strides in exploring and representing the ethnic or racialized body within the world of high fashion. His imagery helped to develop and underscore a new canon of beauty throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He died in Los Angeles of complications related to AIDS on March 17, 1987 at the age of 44.

A team of art historians, scholars of fashion history, gender and communications studies and other experts will participate in the organization of this exhibition. The show’s co-curators are Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Curator at El Museo del Barrio and Amelia Malagamba-Ansótegui, a scholar from Arizona State University and University of Texas San Antonio. In 2003, Dr. Malagamba wrote an important essay on Antonio Lopez for the Smithsonian Institution, which continues to be a key text today for the ways in which it explores Antonio’s attentiveness to race, gender and the body.

A selection of works in the exhibition come from the Estate of Antonio Lopez and Juan Ramos, directed by Paul Caranicas. Additional works are borrowed from various private collections in New York City.

“With bold, hot, and vibrant colors and a keen grasp of life around him, he provided a sort of art history to the masses, as well as a sense of identity and racial diversity through fashion. With bold, hot, and vibrant colors and a keen grasp of life around him, he provided a sort of art history to the masses, as well as a sense of identity and racial diversity through fashion.”- Julia Santos Solomon, from her written essay on Antonio Lopez. To read complete essay, click here!

Defining Latin artist Julia Santos Solomon shares her experience in meeting Antonio Lopez and Juan Ramos at the Altos de Chavon School of Design where she taught fashion illustration and describes Antonio’s influence in the workshop as breathtaking and musical. Watch here!


Guardians of Their Art: The Contemporary Peruvian Amazon

Guardians of Their Art: The Contemporary Peruvian Amazon
peruNov. 10 – Dec. 9, 2016
William Johnston Building Gallery – Florida State University
143 Honors Way, Tallahassee, FL 32304
Artists: Christian Bendayán, Lastenia Canayo, Silvana Pestana, Gerardo Petsaín, Roldán Pinedo, Adrián Portugal, Brus Rubio
Exhibition curated by the students of the Museum Object Course (Fall 2016) of the Department of Art History at FSU, guided by the instructor Gabriela Germana.
 Amazonian art is not a closed and homogeneous category; rather, at the present it is a space for new and multiple explorations by artists coming from different perspectives.
Through a group of pieces that include embroideries, paintings, printings, and photographs, this show seeks to introduce contemporary Peruvian art about and from the Amazon to the local audience. The exhibit will highlight the diversity of the artists and their backgrounds, how the Amazon has influenced the work of the artists, and how the urban and natural landscapes surrounding the artists interact with their art.
The show will display the works of each individual artist grouped together, but at the same time will organize the art into the main categories of nature, myths, and people/daily life to stress common topics and the relationship among the artists.
Today Amazonian art is not only made in the Amazon, but every artist captivated by this region becomes an “amazonist” and in their way, and in their own perspective, is a guardian of their art.
The pieces selected for this exhibition have been generously borrowed by Christian Bendayán and Bufeo / amazonía+arte, a gallery dedicated to the research and promotion of Amazonian art, located in Lima, Peru.

– EL


Mexico City Celebrates its First Ever Day of the Dead Parade

From The Guardian

Mexico City’s James Bond-inspired Day of the Dead parade gets mixed reviews

Thousands attend spectacle, but others bemoan changing face of festival traditionally marked by more intimate celebrations.

A tradition that normally takes place in private homes or at candle-lit cemetery sites was transformed this year by the silver screen – specifically the James Bond film Spectre.

“Day of the Dead is always something in Mexico City that is celebrated, though in a more serious way,” Enrique de la Madrid, the country’s tourism secretary, told the Guardian. “It’s a deeply rooted tradition in Mexico, but what we decided to do is a festival.”

The city government and Mexican tourism officials were inspired by parts of last year’s Bond film, which were filmed in Mexico City and featured 007 chasing a villain through a Day of the Dead celebration in the historical centre.

The official parade on Saturday attracted thousands of people with its full spectacle of skulls and skeletons, oceans of marigolds and catrinas (stylised skeleton costumes depicting high-society figures).

“It’s great that we can celebrate and remember our deceased loved ones,” said Jesús Arreola, 21, a brewery worker who was strolling along the parade route.

Day of the Dead dates back to the Aztec period and celebrants believe the spirits of their deceased loved ones return for a visit. Families build altars adored with photographs, votive candles and items the deceased enjoyed such as food and drink – even tequila or mezcal.

Day of the Dead has remained popular despite predictions the US import of Halloween would wipe it out.

Women wear skeleton masks during a procession organized by sex workers to remember their deceased colleagues ahead of the Day of the Dead parade
 Women wear skeleton masks during a procession organized by sex workers to remember their deceased colleagues ahead of the Day of the Dead parade. Photograph: Ginnette Riquelme/Reuters

But Saturday’s parade did not go down well with everyone. Some on social media pointed to it as another populist pitch from a local government famous for opening the world’s biggest ice rink, building urban beaches and having a fetish for setting world records such as taking the biggest ever selfie.

“This is a cheap stunt,” tweeted Esteban Illades, editor of the magazine Nexos. “They film James Bond here and now we have the ‘traditional Day of the Dead parade’.Let’s see what happens when (the mayor) finishes reading The Da Vinci Code.”

The parade came as Mexico approaches the 11th the year of its crackdown on drug cartels and organised crime, a conflict that has cost an estimated 150,000 lives.

Shawn Haley, a Canadian who lives in southern Oaxaca state, and studies Day of the Dead, sayid the tradition had been evolving since 2000, when he started seeing parades and processions. He predicted it would continue its transformation into a less spiritual occasion, especially in urban areas.

“We are seeing the transition from a private family celebration with folks who truly believed the dead family members returned home to a much more community oriented event [which] has removed much of the sincere belief,” Haley said.

“In the smaller villages, the private family celebration of the Day of the Dead goes on … and family is what keeps the Day of the Dead going.”

David Agren in Mexico City




American Latino Museum

60 million Americans, whose rich history spans more than 500 years, are being left out of the national story. We need a National Smithsonian American Latino Museum on our National Mall.

That is why today we launched #BuildMuseumsNotWalls, a new campaign to push Congress to move forward and make the American Latino Museum a reality. In our current political climate, it’s more important than ever.

It’s been five years since National Museum of the American Latino Commission addressed the President and Congress with a recommendation that we create this museum and more than two decades since the Smithsonian itself recommended building this museum. Yet still, we don’t have our home on the National Mall. With this year’s important opening of the National Museum for African American History and Culture, Latinos’ absence in the federal monuments to our country’s culture is even more stark.

It’s time for Congress to take action by passing the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act, H.R. 6001/S. 3314, and finally give Latinos their rightful place among our federal monuments and historic places.

Sign the petition HERE and get your name on the record as a supporter of the National Smithsonian American Latino Museum.

Learn more about the campaign here.

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– EL

Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950

Self-Portrait on the Border Line between Mexico and the United States (Autorretrato en la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos), 1932


Philadelphia Museum of Art
October 25, 2016 – January 8, 2017
Witness an extraordinary moment in the history of modern art, one fueled by cultural and political revolution.

From the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 to the aftermath of World War II, artists and intellectuals in Mexico were at the center of a great debate about their country’s destiny. The exhibition tells the story of this exhilarating period through a remarkable range of images, from masterpieces by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo to transfixing works by their contemporaries Dr. Atl, María Izquierdo, Roberto Montenegro, Carlos Mérida, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and many others.Paint the Revolution offers a deep look at the forces that shaped modern art in Mexico, the progress of which was closely watched around the world. The exhibition takes its name from an impassioned essay by American novelist John Dos Passos, who saw Mexico’s revolutionary murals during a visit to Mexico City in 1926–27.In addition to featuring portable murals, easel paintings, photographs, prints, books, and broadsheets, the exhibition will display murals by the Tres grandes (Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros) in digital form.The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents this landmark exhibition in partnership with the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Drawn from US and Mexican collections, it is the most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican modernism to be shown in the United States in more than seven decades.

For more information (exhibition catalog, Philadelphia Museum collection of Mexican art, exhibition video) please click here.


Competition for the 2017 ALAA Book Award


Competition for the 2017 Book Award

The Association of Latin American Art, an affiliate of the College Art Association, announces its Seventeenth Annual Book Award for the best scholarly book published on the art of Latin America from the Pre-Columbian era to the present. The award is generously funded by the Arvey Foundation and consists of a citation and a $1,000 honorarium. We will present the award at the annual meeting of the College Art Association in New York in February 2017. The name of the recipient will appear in the newsletters of both ALAA and CAA.

For the February 2017 Award, we will evaluate books on Latin American Art from Pre- Columbian to the present that meet the following criteria:

  • Publication date between September 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016.
  • Books may be written in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.
  • Books may have one or more authors.
  • Multi-authored exhibition catalogues with a substantive text that advances art
  • historical knowledge also can be considered.
  • Edited volumes/anthologies of individual articles that are consistent in terms of both theme and quality will also be considered.The books will be evaluated by a three-person committee of accomplished art historians, each with expertise in a wide geographical and temporal range.Publishers, authors, and others must contact Charlene Villaseñor Black by October 1, 2016 to verify whether a prospective entry is eligible for the competition according to the above criteria. Please include the following information: Title, author(s) and a general description of subject. If the book appears eligible, she will provide mailing addresses for all three committee members. Copies of books are to be sent directly to each, and can be sent at any time over the summer but must be received no later than November 15, 2016.

    Questions may be addressed to Dr. Charlene Villaseñor Black, Department of Art History, 100 Dodd Hall, 405 Hilgard Ave., University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095

CFP LASA2017: Visual Literacies in Contemporary Latin America

Dear ALAA Members,

Please see below for details on our session for LASA2017. The deadline for abstract submissions is Sept. 4th. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions and please circulate this call to anyone who may be interested.

Thanks and best,

Lesley Wolff, Florida State University


Call for Papers, LASA 2017

Lima, Peru, April 29 – May 1

Session Title: Visual Literacies in Contemporary Latin America: Post-Resistance?


Sub Track: Art, Architecture and Visual Culture


Session Co-organizers: Lesley Wolff, FSU (, Gabriela Germaná, FSU (, and Jennifer Baez, FSU (


Deadline: September 4, 2016


Session Abstract: Building upon Beyond the Lettered City’s significant contribution to Latin American art history, this session encourages further dialogue about visual literacies, the production of viewing publics, and new socio-economic boundaries in contemporary Latin American visual culture. In response to the colonial dynamics of oppression and mimesis that persist and evolve in tandem with art market forces, this session considers vernacular visual and material tactics through which contemporary makers subvert political hegemony. By complicating how and to what ends folk arts, heritage processes, foodways, and other unconventional visual literacies intervene into the institutionalized socio-political landscape, this session explores the means by which such practices complicate and break down colonial dynamics.

Sobre la base de la importante contribución de Beyond the Lettered City a la historia del arte latinoamericano, esta sesión busca continuar el diálogo acerca de los conocimientos visuales, la producción de públicos, y los nuevos límites socioeconómicos en la cultura visual de América Latina. En respuesta a las dinámicas coloniales de opresión y mímesis que persisten y evolucionan en tándem con las fuerzas del mercado del arte, esta sesión considera las tácticas visuales y materiales vernáculas a través de las cuales los creadores contemporáneos subvierten la hegemonía política. Analizando desde una perspectiva compleja cómo y para qué las artes populares, los procesos del patrimonio, las costumbres alimenticias, y otros conocimientos visuales poco convencionales intervienen en el panorama socio-político institucionalizado, esta sesión explora los medios por los cuales estas prácticas de las dinámicas coloniales complejizan y descomponen las dinámicas coloniales.

Paper Topics May Include (as they pertain to contemporary Latin America):

  • Vernacular or informal visual culture
  • Subaltern visual culture / Subversive artistic practices
  • Indigenous artistic practices
  • Folk arts
  • Foodways
  • Visual aspects of local ceremonial or processional practices
  • Arts that address political imbalances or notions of resistance
  • Visual cultures of incarceration

Please submit an abstract (in English or Spanish) of no more than 250 words to Lesley Wolff ( by September 4, 2016. For LASA2017 submission guidelines, please see:

CAA CFP: “Outmanned and Outgunned”

Chairs: Faye Gleisser, Indiana University; Delia Solomons, Drexel University Emails:

In 1961, Che Guevara outlined a key strategy for implementing counterinsurgency: “the principal source of provision for the guerrilla force is precisely in the enemy armaments.” This mandate—to steal your enemy’s weapons—appeared in Guerrilla Warfare, a manual designed to assist small oppositional bands across the globe in potential uprisings against colonial, neocolonial, and dictatorial governments. Guevara’s methods were also quickly adapted for artistic and cultural production. Since the 1960s, artists have appropriated the literal and figurative weaponry of their adversaries to intervene in asymmetrical power structures. This panel invites papers that examine how artists have incorporated and reinvented enemy armaments in order to expose or challenge the governmental, financial, societal, and art-world institutions that seem to possess limitless power. We seek to investigate the very notion of ammunition, encompassing the representation of artillery in art and visual culture, as well as more expansive metaphors of armed propaganda, shooting/being shot (photographically), historical misfiring, and caliber/morality. Papers may also consider how artworks have constructed legible enemies, opened up dialogue about race and injustice, and operated under conditions of being outmanned, outgunned, and up in arms. Additionally, we are interested in papers that confront our current landscape of violence, the polarizing rhetoric surrounding gun ownership, and the ways in which the possession or appropriation of artillery has been instrumentalized to protect mythologies of American exceptionalism.

Proposals are due August 30.
Please see the CAA Call for Participation for detailed submission guidelines:


Summer Reading

Summer, for me, always evokes the reading lists of childhood.  I think of reading competitions and heading to the library to check out something new before the school year begins.  If you’re looking for a good summer read before the syllabi beckon, here are a few fiction options from one of last year’s reviews: The Guardian’s Review of 2015’s Best Latin American Books.TheUncomfortableDead

At the top of my “to do” pleasure reading list is a work by the author Paco Ignacio Taibo II.  I think I’ll start with The Uncomfortable Dead, a work reportedly co-written with Subcomandante Marcos, the former leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.  Taibo’s central character is a one-eyed private investigator who marvels at the street life that surrounds him in Mexico City.  NPR conducted an interview with the author in 2012, found here.

What is at the top of your summer reading list?  Do you have a shining recommendation?