On September 2, 2022, SAMA’s Latin American Popular Art Gallery will reopen to the public. This gallery was redesigned in 2020 and presented an updated interpretation of the museum’s treasured Latin American Popular Art collection (formerly known as the Latin American Folk Art Collection).
The collection became internationally recognized after the donation of two major Latin American folk art collections: the Nelson A. Rockefeller Mexican Folk Art Collection and the Robert K. Winn Folk Art Collection. It has grown exponentially over the past thirty-five years thanks to the efforts of Marion Oettinger Jr., the Curator Emeritus of Latin American Art, and is comprised of approximately 8,000 objects.
Instead of using traditional themes to organize the gallery (utility, decoration, ceremony, and recreation), the reinstallation structures the collection using flexible themes such as “Life, Death, and Faith” and “Legacies of Craftsmanship.” The gallery will also share the history of the Latin American folk art collection and frame it within the movement to promote and collect Latin American folk art in the twentieth century.
In addition to these interpretive changes, the gallery will be known as the Latin American Popular Art Gallery. This new title provides a more faithful translation of the original Spanish term for this genre (arte popular). The term “popular art” in this context also encompasses a broader range of Latin American and Spanish material culture, taking into consideration the remarkable size and diversity of SAMA’s Latin American art collection.
“This installation features some of SAMA’s best-known works of popular art, and incorporates interpretive strategies that reflect contemporary discussions about this field of Latin American art,” said Lucía Abramovich Sánchez, Associate Curator of Latin American Art. “Our hope is that this installation will inspire and educate our visitors about popular art, and will encourage partnerships with artists and scholars working with these kinds of objects.”