Arts and Theatre
Tamayo Exhibit Opens November 3 at SAAM
The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) has installed the latest in a series of projects situating the art of the United States in a global context with “Tamayo: The New York Years,” opening November 3. The exhibit, which will be on view at the museum’s main building through March 18, 2018, reveals for the first time the influences between this major Mexican modernist and the American art world.
Rufino Tamayo is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century and was was drawn to New York City at a time when unparalleled transatlantic and hemispheric cross-cultural exchange was taking place. SAAM’s exhibit reveals how a Mexican artist forged a new path in the modern art of the Americas and contributed to NY’s dynamic cultural scene as the city was becoming a center of postwar art.
“Tamayo: The New York Years” brings together 41 of Tamayo’s finest artworks, including a number of key loans from public and private collections in Mexico, that place Tamayo at the center of a major shift in the history of 20th-century art. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to trace Tamayo’s artistic development-from his urban-themed paintings depicting the modern sights of the city to the dream-like canvases that show an artist eager to propel Mexican art in new directions.
The exhibit will open with a symposium on November 3 from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. that explores the meaningful interactions between Mexican and U.S. art and artists during the 20th century. Taking Tamayo’s story as a point of departure, the program features new scholarship about the role of folk and indigenous art of the Americas in Pan-American modernism, sites and agents of intercultural exchange, the dynamics between Mexican and U.S. art during the Cold War and the fertile relationship between Chicano and Mexican artists. E. Carmen Ramos, the museum’s deputy chief curator and curator of Latino art, will present the opening lecture. Information about the daily schedule, participating scholars, and lecture topics is available in the conference program. The program is free and open to the public, and will be webcast live. Pre-registration online is requested.
In addition to the symposium, SAAM has organized a series of programs to complement the exhibition, including concerts and gallery talks. The museum’s award-winning ensemble-in-residence, the 21st Century Consort, will present “Howling at the Moon” featuring work inspired by Tamayo’s symbolic animal paintings and artworks evoking celestial themes Saturday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m. for pre-concert discussion followed by a performance at 5 p.m. Ramos will give a gallery talk in the exhibition Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 5:30 p.m. A Tamayo Family Day will take place in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard Saturday, Jan. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Pasatono Orquesta Mexicana, dedicated to preserving and reinterpreting indigenous Oaxacan music on traditional instruments, will perform in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. The group will present their original compositions as well as those of Mexican composer Carlos Chávez (1899-1978), Tamayo’s lifelong friend who traveled to New York with the artist in 1926.
Details about all the programs are available online at americanart.si.edu/tamayo.
F Street NW & 8th Street NW
(Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro)
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