In a Bid to Become a Destination for Latino Art, the Blanton Museum in Texas Just Acquired More Than 5,000 Works

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The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin is about to become a major hub for Latino art, thanks to the donation and purchase of more than 5,000 works of art from the collection of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia.

The acquisition marks the launch of a new Latino art initiative at the museum, which includes the creation of an associate curator of Latino art position, funded by Advancing Latinx Art in Museums, which is in turn supported by the Ford Foundation, the Getty Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Over the past 60 years, Cárdenas and Garcia have amassed one of the largest private collections dedicated to Chicano and Latino art, with a special emphasis on printmaking. The couple said they believe that art made by the nation’s Latino artists can teach viewers about the origins and history of the Latino community—and the important role it has played in the formation of U.S. society as we know it today.

“Latino culture is an essential part of U.S. 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,” Blanton director Simone Wicha said in a statement.

Antonia Guerrero, <em>Lourdes</em> (2005). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Antonia Guerrero, (2005). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Part of the reason the Blanton is looking to expand its focus on Latino art is the population makeup of Austin, which is nearly one-third Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The couple chose the Blanton as the beneficiary of its collection because the museum has a long history of celebrating Latino art, even before museums were becoming more focused on showcasing art outside the traditional canon of white male artists.

“The Cárdenas/Garcia collection at the museum will provide access to Latino art for the student body and faculty for discovery and research, in addition to serving as a resource for the Austin community,” Cárdenas, a former University of Texas in Austin professor, said in a statement. “We are confident that the research undertaken by the curatorial staff and the exhibitions and publications that result will represent a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge and understanding of this aspect of American art.”

To that end, the museum plans to open two new gallery spaces dedicated to Latino art in March 2023. It will also spend the next five years researching and digitizing the artworks. The majority will stay ay the Blanton, but the museum will also distribute some to other institutions, to improve representation of Latino art at museum collections across the country.

See more works from the collection below.

Xavier Viramontes, Boycott Grapes, Support the United Farm Workers Union</em> (1973). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Xavier Viramontes, Boycott Grapes, Support the United Farm Workers Union (1973). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Yolanda M. López, <em>Who's the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?</em> (1981). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Yolanda M. López, (1981). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Artemio Rodríguez, Noche infinita [Infinite Night] (2004). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Artemio Rodríguez, (2004). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Tony Ortega, Western Union Mar 4 (2008). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Tony Ortega,

Vincent Valdez, America's Finest (2012). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Vincent Valdez, (2012). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Malaquías Montoya, Undocumented (1981). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Malaquías Montoya, (1981). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Judithe Hernández, Reina de la Primavera from the "Mechicano 1977 Calendario" (1977). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Judithe Hernández, from the “Mechicano 1977 Calendario” (1977). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Lawrence Colación, Veterano (1995). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Lawrence Colación, (1995). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Lidia Zamora Lucero, Lolita Lebrón, ¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!. (1975). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Lidia Zamora Lucero, . (1975). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Maceo Montoya, Dawn (Or Despair), 2003. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Maceo Montoya, , 2003. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Margarita Cabrera, VOCHO VW Beetle Sedan (2004). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Margarita Cabrera, (2004). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Margarita Cabrera, VOCHO VW Beetle Sedan (2004). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Margarita Cabrera, (2004). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

John M. Valadez, Untitled (1978). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

John M. Valadez, (1978). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Gaspar Enriquez, María de los Ángeles y los angelitos negros (1994). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Gaspar Enriquez, (1994). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Esperanza Gama, Untitled. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Esperanza Gama, . Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Esperanza Gama, Untitled (Portrait of Frida Kahlo), 2002. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Esperanza Gama, , 2002. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Dulce Pinzón, Minerva Valencia, from Puebla, works as a nanny in New York. She sends 400 dollars a week(2005) from "The Real Story of the Superheroes." Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Dulce Pinzón, (2005) from “The Real Story of the Superheroes.” Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Delilah Montoya, La Guadalupana (1999). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Delilah Montoya, (1999). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Connie Arismendi, La Morena (ca. 1990s). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Connie Arismendi, (ca. 1990s). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Claudio Dicochea, De la Corona y el Vaquero Enamorado, el Pachukis (Of the Crown and the Enamored Cowboy, the Pachukis) 2011. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Claudio Dicochea, 2011. Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

César A. Martínez, Untitled (ca. 1980s or '90s). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

César A. Martínez, (ca. 1980s or ’90s). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

César A. Martínez, Bato azul (1996). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

César A. Martínez, (1996). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia, 2023.

Carmen Lomas Garza, Ofrenda para Antonio Lomas (1995). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Carmen Lomas Garza, (1995). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin, Gilberto Cárdenas Collection, Museum Acquisition Fund, 2022.

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