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10 must-see Latino art shows in 2019

From a first-of-its-kind Frida Kahlo exhibit to photography, textiles and neo-kitch, here's a reason to plan some trips to several U.S. cities this year.
Image: Chalma, 1974
Chalma, 1974Graciela Iturbide

The fantastic energy and diversity of Latino and Latin American art is celebrated across the nation this year in shows that illuminate cultural history, revere artistic legends, and introduce American audiences to the next generation of important creators from throughout Latin America. From a first-of-its-kind Frida Kahlo exhibit to pre-colonial Andean textiles and modern Argentine neo-kitsch, these ten exhibitions showcase the evolution, power, variety and potential of Latino art.

Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico

Museum of Fine Art, Boston

January 19–May 12

In this first major East Coast exhibition of Graciela Iturbide’s work, the acclaimed Mexican photographer presents more than 120 images spanning her five-decade career, a career devoted to illuminating everyday life in Mexico, across its many cultures, rituals and religions. Split into nine parts, the show includes three sections focused on indigenous peoples of Mexico, the Juchitán, the Seri and the Mixteca. Thematic series include Iturbide’s explorations of various aspects of Mexican culture, including fiestas, death, and the symbolism of birds. Series from her recent work include El baño de Frida (Frida’s Bathroom), a look at the long-locked-away personal belongings found in Frida Kahlo’s bathroom at the Casa Azul—many of these actual artifacts will be on display in the Brooklyn Museum’s upcoming Kahlo show (see below). MFA Boston will host its own Kahlo exhibition from February 27 to June 16—Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular will focus on the artist’s collections of traditional Mexican folk art.

Ruben & Isabel Toledo: Labor of Love

Detroit Institute of Arts

Through July 7

Cuban-American artist/fashion designer couple Ruben and Isabel Toledo took inspiration from key pieces in the DIA’s permanent collection to create this exhibition of new works honoring the city’s groundbreaking role in industry and modernization. The show includes the synergistic couple’s large-scale response to Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals from 1933, as well as numerous original creations spread across the museum’s collections, from Ancient Egypt through to contemporary art, on view near the works that inspired them.

Image: Synthetic Cloud Installation
Synthetic Cloud, 2018, Isabel Toledo, Cuban-American (born 1960) and Ruben Toledo, Cuban-American (born 1961); Nylon.Courtesy of the artists and the Toledo Studio

Mariana Castillo Deball: Finding Oneself Outside

New Museum, New York

January 22–April 14

In her first solo show in a U.S. museum, Mexican multimedia artist Mariana Castillo Deball presents one new piece and several never-seen-in-New York works for an exhibition that examines the production, organization and authentication of knowledge and cultural heritage. Through sculpture, printmaking, photography and installation, Castillo Deball’s work is typically inspired by Mesoamerican iconography and narratives, examining their early colonial transformations and their continued presence in modern Central America.

Mariana Castillo Deball, Nuremberg Map of Tenochtitlan, 2013.
Mariana Castillo Deball, Nuremberg Map of Tenochtitlan, 2013. David von Becker

Raúl de Nieves: Fina

Cleveland Museum of Art

February 2–April 28

This first solo museum exhibition by young Mexican-American artist Raúl de Nieves is a site-specific show created for Cleveland Museum’s contemporary arts space, CMA at Transformer Station. Known for the intricate and brightly-colored beadwork that permeates his work, as well as his dedication to turning humble materials into spectacular objects, Nieves has gained recognition in both the fashion and art realms, including acclaimed pieces in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Mexican cultural traditions will inform the narrative theme of the CMA show, as projected through the lens of our current moment in history.

Image: Raul de Nievesin his studio
Raul de Nievesin his studio.Tiffany Nicholson

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Brooklyn Museum

February 8–May 12

This largest Frida Kahlo exhibition in the U.S. in ten years will also be the first-ever in America devoted to the iconic artist’s clothing and personal effects, which were locked away unseen in the Casa Azul (Blue House) for half a century after her death in 1954. No artist’s personal style has been as tied to their identity as Kahlo’s, and this broad collection of personal artifacts includes her instantly recognizable Tehuana clothing, pre-colonial and contemporary jewelry, and hand-painted corsets and prosthetics she used during her lifetime. The pieces will be displayed alongside key artworks from the celebrated Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art, as well as the Brooklyn Museum’s own holdings of Mesoamerican art.

Image:Nickolas Murray
Nickolas Muray (American, born Hungary, 1892-1965). Frida in New York, 1946Nickolas Murray Photo Archives / Brooklyn Museum

Super/Natural: Textiles of the Andes

Art Institute of Chicago

February 23–June 23

Stretching from the top to the bottom of South America through modern-day Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile and Argentina, the many cultures of the pre-colonial Andean region were united by their use of textiles as a primary form of communication and artistic expression. Utilized as garments, decorations, and ritual paraphernalia, these textiles reflected the region’s broad diversity, but also its shared ideas about everyday life, the natural world, the realm of the supernatural, and the afterlife. The Art Institute’s exhibition will include more than 60 Andean textiles and a small selection of ceramics from the museum’s collection, which will together explore the development of distinct Andean cultures and their approaches to design.

Image: Fragment, A.D. 200/500 from Peru
Fragment, A.D. 200/500 from PeruArt Institute of Chicago

Gráfica América

Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach

March 2–September 1

Featuring works by around a hundred artists from the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, this sweeping exhibition puts the focus on creators whose practices are rooted in the collaborative spirit of independent workshops and schools, where marginalized and diverse individuals find creative platforms, and where artists hone their unique voices. The show, which features collective workshops like Cuba’s Taller de Gráfica Experimental and Argentina’s Estampa Feminista, will highlight the radical political role of printmaking in Latin America’s history.

Chiachio & Giannione

Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach

March 16–July 14

They’ve been called the children of Gilbert and George, crossed with Pierre et Gilles, as descended from Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Working in numerous media including embroidery, mosaic and porcelain, Argentine artist couple Leo Chiachio and Daniel Giannone mix folk motifs, traditional iconography, and a healthy dose of pop kitsch to bend and question social stereotypes and artistic norms.

Image: Rainbow Studio
Argentine artist couple Leo Chiachio and Daniel Giannone mix folk motifs, traditional iconography, and a healthy dose of pop kitsch to bend and question social stereotypes and artistic norms.Museum of Latin American Art

Jonathas de Andrade: One to One

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

April 13–August 25

Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade gets his first solo exhibition in the U.S., showcasing his works that use photography, video and installation to reflect on the geography and culture around Recife, the largest city in northern Brazil, as the region struggles with the failed promises and inequities of Brazil’s urbanizing “modernist project.”

Image: Jonathas de Andrade 2 em 1 (2 in 1), 2010
Jonathas de Andrade 2 em 1 (2 in 1), 2010Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art