Blanton Museum Welcomes New Latino Art Collection

Blanton Museum Welcomes Curator, Collection of Latino Art

  • Jul 13, 2023

On the heels of a groundbreaking acquisition of artwork, the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin welcomes Claudia Zapata as the museum’s first associate curator of Latino art.  

As part of a new initiative to highlight Latino art launched in February 2023, the Blanton acquired more than 5,000 works from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection, one of the largest private collections of Chicano and Latino art in the world. This effort was organized in part to celebrate Austin’s growing Latino community, which makes up nearly one-third of its population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

The initiative also included the creation of the position of associate curator, which is fundamental to the research and presentation of the artworks. The position is funded by Advancing Latinx Art in Museums and supported by the Ford Foundation, the Getty Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.  

The significance of the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection’s gift to the Blanton cannot be overstated, said Zapata. “The Blanton is leading the charge for museums with their new permanent Latino art galleries, demanding space for this significant contribution to American art. We aim to make this institution the preeminent site for Latino art study and appreciation, serving local to international communities." 

In their new position, Zapata will help train the next generation of historians of Chicano and Latino art and develop educational and exhibition programming. 

The inaugural presentation that draws on works from this collection, “Cara a Cara/ Face to Face,” showcases the artwork of more than 50 Mexican American artists who were part of the Chicano movement, expressing their political and social concerns through portraiture during the 1960s.  

Featuring works in media ranging from traditional printmaking to painting and digital photography, “Cara a Cara” will be open to the public through September 10 in the two new permanent collection galleries dedicated to Latino art on the museum’s upper level.