"¡Americanx!" exhibition name is inspired from the gender-neutral term LATINX, which was accepted into Webster's Dictionary in September 2018.
Proposed exhibition graphic by Ed Fuentes
The Donna Beam Gallery will be contributing to the UNLV College of Fine Arts Annual Art Walk with ¡Americanx!, the first group exhibition featuring local Latin artists – perfectly suited for a campus that has been moved to the top of U.S. News & World Report’s annual listing of the most diverse universities in the nation. A rush of PR was based on the 2018 list that had UNLV -- with an enrollment of “Hispanic” students reaching 29 percent -- in a three-way tie with Andrews University and Rutgers University. Just released is the 2019 list that places UNLV in a two-way tie with Rutgers.
That gives “¡Americanx!” multiple layers of meaning and intent.
“I had thought about organizing an exhibition of Latino artists off and on for several years. But it was on a smaller scale of maybe one, or two, or three artists,” said Jerry Schefcik, director of the Donna Beam Gallery, who was eyeing touring exhibitions of Latin and Chicano art, including those featuring the Cheech Marin Collection.
There has been interest from UNLV to present contemporary art from the Americas. In 2015, “Through Windows, Through Curtains, Call On Us,” curated by Art History Professor Robert Tracy, featured the work of four Cuban artists, making that UNLV’s first group show focused on Latin works. Yet, local artists were not given many ways to think local exploration of Latino/a/x works would be noticed as contemporary art, or if there would be a chance to presented as a group, as seen in other urban art cores around the Southwest.
If there has been change, that must be credited to UNLV alum Justin Favela, who has increased his national reputation as an artist and raised the profile of the area with the podcast Latinos Who Lunch, which he is a co-host and co-producer with art historian Emmanuel Ortega. A few weeks before the opening of my thesis exhibition in Spring 2018, I adjusted it to focus on Post-Chicano art themes and was noted as the first solo Latinx Art exhibition.
Now Schefcik is leading the charge through "¡Americanx!, which is co-curated by UNLV Faculty member Salgado and myself. Between the three of us, we shared information on Latino/a/x artists producing works in the region. The list grew quickly. “I was aware of a number of artists, but I knew that there were probably more that I was not aware of. There are probably more still that I don't know about,” says Jerry. “It was exciting to learn of Latino artists in Vegas, and the possibility of a second edition of this show is good.”
The artists in the region are not just representing Las Vegas natives and transplants, but other Latin American countries, which shifted to the idea that the final works were not just specific to Chicano art themes. “The definition of artist expanded too. The addition of pop culture artists in this venture in an exciting element of this exhibition,” says Jerry.
October 1 – 27
The Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, October 12, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
(During the Second Annual UNLV Art Walk)
Artists: Omayra Amador, Yasmina Chavez, Orlando Montenegro Cruz, Natalie Delgado, Lolita Develay, Justin Favela, Ed Fuentes, Tony Gomez, Adolfo Gonzalez, Karla Lagunas, Raymond “StingRay” Pratt, Krystal Ramirez, Fernando Reyes, Miguel Rodriguez, Checko Salgado, Javier Sanchez, Sunday Slackers, Jess Vanessa, Luis Varela and David Velix.
2018 UNLV College of Fine Arts Annual Art Walk
October 12, 2018
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
UNLV College of Fine Arts unites to celebrate the arts.
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.: Guests are invited to begin their evening at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, where they will enjoy the opening of the Tamar Ettun's, Jubilation Inflation, a participatory installation of inflatable spaces, performance, and sculpture. Also enjoy new and exciting exhibitions at Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, Grant Hall Gallery, and the Jessie & Brian Metcalf Gallery.
6:30 p.m.: College of Fine Arts Dean Nancy J. Uscher leads a toast to the Las Vegas arts community at the UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.: We embark on a series of art walks across the campus lawns. Representatives from the schools of Architecture and Music, the departments of Dance, Film, Art, Theatre, and the Entertainment Engineering & Design program will ensure this is a night to remember.
Donna Beam Gallery
Through October 26, 2018
FOUNDER + WRITER
G. James Daichendt