Arte Extraordinario showcases work by a diverse group of artists, all of whom share a heritage associated with Spanish-speaking cultures in the Americas. Some of these artists may identify as Latinx, an alternative, gender-neutral term for Latina or Latino that is quickly gaining popularity, especially among a younger demographic. The exhibition covers a wide range of genres from figuration to landscape and abstraction, as well as a variety of themes, including politics, activism, humor, family, and religion.

Ana Mendieta, Anima, Silueta de Cohetes (Firework Piece), 1976 (Estate print 1991), from Silueta Works in Mexico, 1973–1977. C-print, 13 3/8 x 20 inches. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Lois and Dr. Barry Ramer, 2015.101.11 © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

Included in the exhibition are California scenes such as Carlos Almaraz’s expressive Echo Park Lake No. 1, picturing a section of the iconic Los Angeles park, and José María de Servín’s surreal Ciberespacio, a spiky mountain scape and horizon adorned with a silver, pearl-like moon. The charming Still Life Reflections by Estelle Chaves features geometrically rendered background elements as a setting for a vase and peaches, several of which are delicately reflected in the plate on which they rest.

Carlos Almaraz (American, born Mexico, 1941-1989), "Echo Park Lake No. 1", 1982. Oil on linen. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Margery and Maurice Katz, 2017.101

In the realm of figural works, artists take a variety of different approaches: for example, Ramiro Gomez honors a house cleaner named Clara, and Juan Carlos Quintana presents satirical caricatures of heroic and villainous modern-day archetypes. Abstraction is also included through sculpture, such as the totemic Don’t Look Back by Sam Hernandez. Photography and works on paper make a strong showing with examples by Raúl Cañibano, Flor Garduño, Graciela Iturbide, Ana Mendieta, Alfredo Zalce, Leopoldo Méndez, and others.

Date Farmers (Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez), Panther Yellow. 2008. Mixed media on metal panel, 24 x 30 in. Crocker Art Museum, promised gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D. © Date Farmers.

Many of the featured artists have roots in California, and several are nationally or internationally recognized for works that challenge, critique, innovate, or inspire. Thanks to the generosity of multiple donors, all the artworks are recent acquisitions or promised gifts that will become part of the Crocker’s permanent collection.

Arte Extraordinaro: Recent Acquisitions is on view at the Crocker Art Museum December 16, 2018 – August 18, 2019.


Cover image: Juan Carlos Quintana (American, born 1964), Celebrating Hubris with Hijinx, 2017. Ink and acrylic on canvas paper, 108 x 80 in. Crocker Art Museum purchase with funds provided by Loren G. Lipson, M.D. and the Michael Himovitz Fund, 2018.33.2 © Juan Carlos Quintana.