Located in Denver’s Santa Fe Art District, the Museo de Las Americas is a museum dedicated to educating the community on Latino Americano art and culture. It is not a large museum, but its size is substantial enough so you feel as if you saw it all when you leave. The large museums are wonderful, but I always feel as if I missed something I wish I hadn’t.
Currently on display until January 13th, 2013 is the Hilos exhibition. Hilos, Spanish for thread, is a metaphor for what connects Museo de Las Americas current collection to its twenty-year history. It is a celebration of the museum’s past as well as its present, and a look into where the museum is in the life of the Denver art community. The 100 items on display for the Hilos event are from the nearly 4,000 artifacts that the museum has collected over the last two decades.
The museum frequently rotates its exhibits, so there is always something to return for. But the curators this time designed the exhibit to illustrate how eclectic Latino Americano art is. Don’t expect to see many sculptures and paintings of the same style, expect to see many styles of paintings and sculptures. They don’t stop there, as there are textiles, pottery, and wood worked items too.
The artifacts span the centuries. Columns from the twentieth century in the Sanctuary room guide us to the 19th century altar. The altar and the walls are adorned with pieces that date as far back as the 15th century.
Regina Silveira, an internationally known, Brazilian artist, has created a site-specific, room-sized illusion–a common device in her work–from footprints. Using the floor and the walls of an entire room as her canvas, she adroitly paints a picture so that it causes your eyes to distort your brain’s sense of perspective. (For examples of her illusions click here.)
Irving Tragen and his wife, Ele, collected art and handicrafts for decades. They spent much of their time in Latin American countries collecting hand made ceramics, textiles, and woodwork. Part of their inspiring collection of exquisitely crafted everyday items is on display as part of the Hilos exhibit.
From abstract art, handcrafted textiles, religious statuettes, cartoon paintings, to a stone sculpture and a room-size illusion, the Museo de Las Americas shows, through its Hilos exhibition, where Latino Americano art has been and where it is going. No different than any other artistic genre, Latino Americano art changes its look and its message, yet seems to do so without ignoring the multicultural roots that brought it into being.
If you are in the Santa Fe Art District some day then stop by, or, if not, be sure to set aside some time–two hours or so–and take a special trip to see the Museo de Las Americas. For those of you who appreciate art, a visit will be worth it as it is one more essential stop on your never-ending museum journey.