The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, announced that it has acquired 5,650 works from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection, one of the world’s largest assemblies of Chicano and Latino art. The acquisition, accomplished via donation and purchase, reflects the museum’s goal of becoming a major center for modern and contemporary Latino art. To support this effort, the Blanton established the position of associate curator of Latino art. The museum in March will welcome two new gallery spaces dedicated to Latino art, with an exhibition devoted to portraits by Chicano artists.
“For decades, Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas has supported and championed Latino and Chicano artists, built an important collection, and consistently encouraged museums to feature Latino art,” said director Simone Wicha. “Latino culture is an essential part of US culture, especially here in the Southwest, and our shared commitment to representing and amplifying Latino history and voices through art prompted me to begin this collaboration with Gilberto and Dolores. The new initiative is an important next step for the Blanton, which has been a leader in American contemporary art and holds one of the oldest and most distinguished collections of Latin American art in this country.”
The Cárdenas and Garcia collection was amassed with an eye toward printmaking, especially Chicano prints of the 1960s. Among the works acquired are those by Ester Hernandez, Carmen Lomas Garza, Maceo Montoya, César A. Martínez, and Dulce Pinzón. The accession follows on the heels of a 2017 gift from Cárdenas of 356 prints from the renowned Los Angeles printmaking workshop Self Help Graphics & Art. Staff at the Blanton will research and digitize all the artworks arriving in the new tranche; the process is expected to take five years.