Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This newspaper column comments on Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s works in the exhibition Los Encuentros at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to mark the Colombian quincentenary. The author weighs how Manglano-Ovalle uses everyday artifacts to make aesthetic objects and political statements. As an artist and a curator, he says he typically avoids involvement in shows that focus exclusively on “Latino” art, “Artist of Color” or “Women,” and on the two occasions he has participated, his art has talked about the show. Such is the case with his piece Multi-Cultural Fruit Juice featuring “100% Politically Correct” six-packs of juice entitled “Border Punch,” “Meztizo Mix,” and “Eurocentric Citric.” His conceptual artwork comments on the [current] state of multiculturalism, which began as a way to transform society and became a way for mainstream institutions to more easily digest the construct. While the art of marginal cultures has become desirable, Manglano-Ovalle notes, minorities are still not the ones who curate and write about their works; the mainstream still monopolizes this aspect of cultural production.

Annotations

This article about the Spanish-born, Chicago-based conceptual artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle appeared in the weekly newspaper entitled the Chicago Reader on September 11, 1992. In this text, Manglano-Ovalle questions the efficacy of a trend of multicultural exhibitions in which mainstream institutions invite minority groups to show their work under the rubric of “identity” without giving them the control to determine how to represent such identities. Manglano-Ovalle comments on the struggle between the mainstream art world and non-mainstream artists, the co-optation of multiculturalism for the dominant culture’s purposes, and the problems of labeling “Latino” artists. In addressing such themes, this document pertains to several research topics: “Issues of Race, Class and Gender in the Visual Arts of Latino-America”; “Globalization and Its Latin American (Dis)/Contents”; “Art, Activism, and Social Change”; and “Resisting Categories: Latin American and/or Latino”.

Researcher
Olga Herrera; Harper Montgomery, collaborator
Team
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, USA
Credit
Courtesy of Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader, Chicago, IL