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October 5, 2013

Museum shows color, culture of Latin America with new exhibit

NORMAN — Fred Jones Junior Museum of Art has brought the color and culture of Latin America to Oklahomans with its new exhibit, “Libertad de Exprésion: Freedom of Expression in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Friday, the museum hosted a symposium in conjunction with Libertad that focused on the role freedom of expression has played in Latin American and Caribbean culture, journalism and politics. The symposium was made possible in part by the Norman Arts Council Grant Program. OU College of International Studies co-hosted the event.

Mark White, interim director and chief curator of Fred Jones, said Oklahomans generally don’t have access to artwork of the Latin Americas.

“The reason for the symposium is to educate the Oklahoma public about the breadth and diversity of Latin America and Caribbean artists,” White said.

All of the artwork displayed in Libertad comes from the Art Museum of the Americas’ permanent collection. White said the exhibit would not have been possible without the help of Andrés Navia, AMA director, and Adriana Ospina, AMA education and archives.

Navia said the quality of Fred Jones is so high that the AMA staff had learned new things about their pieces and ways to display them.

“We are really proud to see our pieces here,” Navia said.

During the Cold War, the Organization of American States, formerly the Pan American Union, actively promoted artists from Latin America and the Caribbean that demonstrated affiliation with influential modernist styles such as Constructivism, Surrealism, Art Informel and Abstract Expressionism.

Speakers during the symposium focused on José Gómez Sicre’s direction of the AMA, Argentina artists Ernesto Deira and Jorge de la Vega, the grassroots culture of Pan-Americanism, and anti-communism and free speech during the Cold War in Latin America. Speakers included Claire Fox, associate professor at the University of Iowa; Patrick Frank, author; Monica Rankin, associate professor at the University of Texas at Dallas; and Alan McPherson, OU department of international and area studies professor.

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