La Espina
Art • Arte

Owsley Museum at Ball State to feature modern paintings by Mexican artists

MUNCIE, Indiana — The David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA) at Ball State University will host “Mexican Modernity: 20th-Century Paintings from the Zapanta Collection,” highlighting some of the most significant modern Mexican artists, from January 30 to May 3.

Organized chronologically, the exhibition includes Early Masters, Mexican Muralists, Second-Generation Muralists, Introspective artists, the Rupture generation, and the Oaxacan Movement — all groups that represent dynamic moments in the evolution of 20th-century Mexican art. The exhibition was organized by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and Dr. Richard Zapanta, from the collection of Dr. Zapanta. It will subsequently travel to the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Dr. Atl (Gerardo Murillo) (Mexican, 1875-1964)
Landscape with Full Moon
Paisaje con luna llena
, N.D.
Charcoal on board/ Carboncillo sobre tabla Collection of Dr. Zapanta
Colección del Dr. Zapanta

“We are excited to see ‘Mexican Modernity’ presented at another academic institution,” says Dr. Gisela Carbonell, curator at CFAM. “DOMA, like CFAM, is an ideal context to present the exhibition and engage in multidisciplinary conversations that further understanding of the works in their historical context. We are confident the students and faculty as well as the greater Muncie community will enjoy engaging with works by some of the most significant artists who worked in Mexico in the 20th century.”

The Zapanta Collection, amassed over more than 25 years, includes works by several generations of modern Mexican artists and provides an overview of important artistic styles and an in-depth consideration of poignant themes, political events, and social narratives that informed their creative output. Dr. Richard Zapanta was a fourth-generation Mexican American whose collecting was a way to reconnect with his cultural roots. Dr. Zapanta and his wife, Rebecca, established close friendships with many of the artists whose works they collected, such as Rodolfo Morales and Raúl Anguiano, often inviting them to their home in California and spending time with them in Mexico.

Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1866-1957)
Girl with Flowers
Niña con flores
, 1954
Watercolor on rice paper/ Acuarela sobre papel de arroz
Collection of Dr. Zapanta
Colección del Dr. Zapanta
© 2019 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

The personal connection between collectors and artists, in addition to the historical and contextual narrative threads that link the works, position this exhibition as an opportunity to consider important events that shaped Mexican modernity. The impetus behind the project is the collectors’ interest in making this remarkable collection of Mexican art accessible to institutions whose holdings may be limited in this area. The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual illustrated catalog. 

Raúl Anguiano (Mexican, 1915-2006)
The Thorn
La espina
, 2002
Oil on canvas/ Óle sobre lienzo Collection of Dr. Zapanta Colección del Dr. Zapanta
Courtesy of Brigita Anguiano

“The impressive Zapanta Collection includes a wide range of artists whose work illustrates the richness and significance of Mexican art and culture in the 20th century,” said Dr. Robert G. La France, director of the Owsley Museum. “We are happy not only to bring this exhibition to East Central Indiana but also to take this opportunity to create an additional display of Mexican art collected by the Ball family, works of art in our collection that connect Muncie to the Mexican town of Taxco, and a loan of vintage photographs of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.” The accompanying exhibition, “Mexican Modernity: IMPACT,” is on view from January 30 to May 17.

Leonora Carrington (British, 1917-2011)
Tuesday (State II)
Martes (estado II)
, 1987 Lithograph/Litografía Collection of Dr. Zapanta Colección del Dr. Zapanta
© 2019 Leonora Carrington / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Rafael Coronel (Mexican, 1931-2019)
Street Performers II
Carperos II
, 1980
Oil on canvas/Óleo sobre lienzo Collection of Dr. Zapanta Colección del Dr. Zapanta
Courtesy of the artist
Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)
Black Venus
Venus negra
, 1968 Lithograph/Litografía Collection of Dr. Zapanta Colección del Dr. Zapanta
© 2019 Tamayo Heirs / Mexico / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Federico Cantú (Mexican, 1907-1989)
La despedida,
Gouache on paper/gouache sobre papel Collection of Dr. Zapanta
Colección del Dr. Zapanta

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