Inspiration From South of the Border Moves Center Stage in Houston


From the perspective of the artist Amalia Mesa-Bains, whose parents emigrated to the United States from Mexico, Chicano art — the affirming political expression of Mexican-Americans’ experiences — is “often overlooked,” she said, despite its tenure in America’s West and Southwest for more than a century.

“There haven’t been a lot of people in the museum world that have taken on a commitment to this vastly underrated area of art history, ” she said.

Ms. Mesa-Bains’s own site-specific installations, which pay tribute to Mexican home altars, or ofrendas, did not easily find collectors, and as a result many never survived. But on Nov. 21, when the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, unveils its new building for modern and contemporary art, visitors will discover her mirrored altar, “Transparent Migrations.” It reflects the experience of working-class immigrants, particularly women invisible to society — one of 250 acquisitions of Latin American and Latino artists, many of whom are rarely shown in this country.


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