The Most Exciting Latino Art & Culture Exhibitions Happening in the First Half of 2020

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Read more

Even in the most tense political climates — and perhaps, especially, during these times — art can work as a salve, a war cry, a mirror and a lens. The first half of 2020 will reveal a lot about U.S. politics and race relations. If you want to find relief in a museum space filled with artworks that reflect current events or if you need to get lost in artworks outside of the chaos, we’ve got some ideas.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the Latino and Latin American art exhibitions on view or opening during the first six months of the year. They range in mediums, from printmaking to photography, as well as artist backgrounds. From Afro-Latino history to Central American identity, these exhibitions also offer a look into various groups. Whether in a university gallery or a major museum, the shows represent the breadth of Latino art in the U.S. at the beginning of a new decade. It’s about looking back at some of the most influential artists and peeking forward at the next generation of culture makers. Keep reading, plan your visit and maybe you’ll find your new favorite artwork to serve as a creative beacon for uncertain times.


Afro Syncretic (New York, New York)

Where: KJCC Auditorium NY
When: Through February 29, 2020
Cost: Free

Afro-Latino culture can often be overlooked in conversations about Latino identity and in pop culture at large. Afro Syncretic pushes against this, creating a space to reflect on the “vibrancy of diasporic blackness within Latinx culture.” The artworks in the exhibition touch on themes like beauty standards, colonial history and housing displacement. The nine artists whose work will be on view include Joiri Minaya, Patricia Encarnación, Elia Alba and more. Together, their work crafts a much different conversation around Afro-Latino identity and history than the one in mainstream culture. 

Learn more here.


Connected Diaspora: U.S. Central American Visuality in the Age of Social Media (Durham, North Carolina)

Where: Duke Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Durham
When: Through end of February, 2020
Cost: Free

Social media often feels like a double-edged sword: it connects us and divides us, sometimes in violent ways. This feels especially fraught for people of color, including Central American people — who, as Duke Trinity College of Arts & Sciences explains, “make up the third largest U.S. Latinx group.” The exhibition Connected Diaspora: U.S. Central American Visuality in the Age of Social Media includes works in a range of media that consider the positionality of Central Americans in a social media-obsessed era. Artworks by Xiomara Garay, Veronica Melendez, Juan Madrid and 13 other artists highlight “an artistically connected diaspora that has leveraged social media to create transnational Central American art.”

Learn more here.


Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom (Nashville, Tennessee)

Where: Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery
When: January 9 to March 8, 2020
Cost: Free

The Afro-Cuban revolutionary and artist José Antonio Aponte was hanged in 1812 for attempting to carry out slave rebellions. His Book of Paintings depicted Havana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Biblical stories and more — and it’s the inspiration for Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom. Featuring twenty contemporary artists — including María Magdalena Campos-Pons , Édouard Duval Carrié, Emilio Adán Martíne, Nina Angela Mercer and more — the exhibition reframes and converses with scholarship about Aponte’s impact and his Book of Paintings.

Learn more here.


Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarrayas (Boston, Massachusetts)

Where: ICA Boston
When: January 20 to July 5, 2020
Cost: $15 for general admission

The work of Carolina Caycedo invites viewers to think more critically about our impact on the environment — and the powers that often govern both human and natural bodies. Specifically, Caycedo talks about water. Her “Be Dammed” project, ongoing since 2012, looks at the effects of dams built by corporations, “including the displacement and dispossession of peoples, particularly in Latin American countries such as Brazil or Colombia.” Her field research and interdisciplinary practice come together in Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarrayas, which will feature a series of hanging sculptures.  

Learn more here.


Seed Unseed: Works by Vick Quezada (New York, New York)

Where: SCA Flex Space at NYU
When: January 31 to May 15, 2020
Cost: Free

The Mexico-U.S. border continues to be a fraught topic. Through “queering the archaeological,” Vick Quezada continues to highlight Indigenous-Latinx hybridity. Quezada’s multimedia work includes performances that “embody ancient Nahuan rites” and natural elements that reference Indigenous beliefs about the earth. Their recent work, including a performance in El Paso, Texas, will be on view in Seed Unseed: Works by Vick Quezada. The exhibition also features documentation of their artistic process in creating multilayered pieces. 

Learn more here.


Shizu Saldamando: L.A. Intersections (Los Angeles, California)

View this post on Instagram

We are thrilled to announce our spring exhibition "Shizu Saldamando: L.A. Intersections". Shizu Saldamando (@shizutattoo) is the 2019-2020 Oxy Arts' Wanlass Artist-in-Residence. Related programming will include talks and performances by Texas Isaiah, EJ Hill, Yosimar Reyes, Gabriela Ruiz, Raquel Gutiérrez, Dorian Wood, and Club Scum. __ Join us on Thursday, Feb 6, 6-8pm for the opening reception, featuring a special DJ set by @Crasslos and snacks by @eastlosmusubi. For more information about the opening reception and related programming, visit Link in bio. __ Saldamando has built her career on her depiction of L.A. communities underrepresented in fine art: people she met at house parties, music shows, and other hangouts in East and South L.A. "I hope to show a broader idea of who can inhabit art and who creates culture," she says. "My overall objective is to create images with unconventional materials, honoring people and moments that resist categorization and question the existing archetypal and hierarchical norms." __ The Wanlass Artist-in-Residence is Oxy Arts’ residency program that allows an artist to investigate aspects of their practice and share it with the College community campus-wide through a fall semester teaching course and a spring semester solo exhibition. The program encourages cross-campus collaboration and thoughtful sustained interaction between the artist, students and the community. Previous Wanlass Artists-in-Residence include Candice Lin, Kenyatta A.C. Hinckle, and Rafa Esparza. The Wanlass Artist in Residence Program is made possible by generous support from the Kathryn Caine Wanlass Charitable Foundation. __ Image: Shizu Saldamando, "La Ever, Chica Malcriada", colored pencil, glitter, spray paint on paper 30 x 22 inches, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Michael Underwood #oxyarts #shizusaldamando #laintersections #occidentalcollege #nelaarts @kingtexas @iheartbeuys @yosirey @gabrielaxruiz @raquefella @dorianwoodmusic @club_scum_ela

A post shared by OXY ARTS (@oxyarts) on

Where: Oxy Arts, Los Angeles
When: February 6 to April 17, 2020
Cost: Free

In the hand-drawn portraits of Shizu Saldamando, you can see the immediateness and vulnerability of each person but also the subcultures they belong to that are often overlooked. Shizu Saldamando: L.A. Intersections presents Saldamando’s intricate work, snapshots of moments from late-night trysts and intimate gatherings around Los Angeles. The exhibition also includes related programming — such as a one-woman show by Leather Papi and a poetry reading by Yosimar Reyes — so check the site for more info.

Learn more here. 


Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art (Dallas, Texas)

Where: Dallas Museum of Art
When: February 16 to September 20, 2020
Cost: Free

Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art focuses on early 20th century Mexican art, particularly to analyze how depictions of women changed throughout those years. The exhibition takes part of its name from Alfredo Ramos Martínez’s painting Flores Mexicanas, which is being shown for the first time. The exhibition also includes works by Frida Kahlo, María Izquierdo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and more. Museum exhibitions and collections still have a lot of work left in terms of including more women artists (among other groups). But this exhibition could serve as a jumping point for seeing the history that female artists are conversing with when taking agency to depict the female body.

Learn more here.


Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn (Los Angeles, California)

Where: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
When: February 16 to May 3, 2020
Cost: $20 general admission for people residing in L.A. County, $25 for people residing outside of L.A. county, free admission for L.A. County residents weekdays after 3 p.m. with valid ID and free admission every second Tuesday of the month

In 2016, the art world and cultural sphere started paying more attention to the work of Luchita Hurtado. In 2019, TIME magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people of 2019. Hurtado created work during the decades that saw artists like Rufino Tamayo making an impact. Now, her work is garnering the attention it’s been lacking. Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn is the first “career survey of paintings and works on paper,” so it’s a unique opportunity to spend time with earlier works and the range of her oeuvre. 

Learn more here.


Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 (New York, New York)

View this post on Instagram

It’s #MCM (#muralcrushmonday, of course). Every Monday until the opening of Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945, Whitney staff members will share their favorite works by muralists included in the exhibition. Dance in Tehuantepec by Diego Rivera, one of the most influential Mexican muralists, was chosen by assistant registrar Brenna Cothran. Like a number of Rivera’s works, Dance in Tehuantepec was derived from a mural he had already created. Here, he based the imagery on one of his murals at the Ministry of Public Education in Mexico City. ⁣ ⁣ Cothran, who has been working on this exhibition for over a year, organizes all of the loans—including the agreements, the shipping, the unpacking, and much more—for the artworks, including this painting from a private collection. “This is the first work for this show that I have seen in person. It’s such an amazing experience to go from seeing works reproduced really small on an exhibition’s checklist to seeing the work in person, as it is unpacked from its crate.” See this and many more works by Diego Rivera in Vida Americana, opening February 17! Tap the link in bio for tickets and more information. #VidaAmericana #DiegoRivera⁣ —⁣⁣ Diego Rivera, Dance in Tehuantepec, 1928. Oil on canvas, 79 × 64 1/2 in. (200.7 × 163.8 cm). Collection of Eduardo F. Costantini. Courtesy Malba, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. © 2020 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A post shared by Whitney Museum of American Art (@whitneymuseum) on

Where: Whitney Museum of American Art
When: February 17 to May 17, 2020
Cost: $25

Mexican muralism during the decades between 1920-1940 made its mark for taking on social and political issues. Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 highlights this era, particularly the ways in which these works sought to connect with the public. The muralism masters of this time — including David Alfaro Siqueiros and Clemente Orozco — in turn influenced U.S. artists as well. The exhibition looks at this crossover, featuring 200 works by 60 Mexican and U.S. artists. 

Learn more here.


Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico (Washington, DC)

Where: National Museum of Women in the Arts, DC
When: February 28 to May 25, 2020
Cost: $10

As one of the most influential Mexican photographers, Graciela Iturbide has shown work around the world. Her photographs capture nature and people in ways that feel surreal, vivid, dreamy and intimate all at once. Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico is actually the “most extensive U.S. exhibition in more than two decades,” making it a good opportunity to learn about her work or revisit it more closely. The exhibition will feature more than 140 photographs, including her haunting images taken at Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. 

Learn more here.


Metaphysical Orozco (Dallas, Texas)

Where: Latino Arts Project
When: February to April 2020
Cost: $12

Described as “an immersion experience,” the exhibition “Metaphysical Orozco” focuses on looking more closely at the early murals of José Clemente Orozco. Visitors can see sketches of the murals and learn more about the materials used. A video mapping component with animated images allows visitors to really fall into the visual elements of Orozco’s work. The works explore themes of science, art, free will and more. The exhibition is also an opportunity to learn about the Mexican muralism movement, which Orozco played a significant role in.

Learn more here.


A Graphic Revolution: Prints and Drawings in Latin America (Cleveland, Ohio)

Where: The Cleveland Museum of Art
When: March 14 to August 2, 2020
Cost: Free

Featuring around 50 works, A Graphic Revolution: Prints and Drawings in Latin America looks at the ways in which these mediums intersect with social and political themes. The works on view will represent a range of countries, from Chile to Mexico to Argentina. It will highlight artists such as Rufino Tamayo, Liliana Porter, Gego, Roberto Matta and more. This is the first time the Cleveland Museum of Art is highlighting works in these mediums from its collection, particularly those “produced in Latin America over the past century.”

Learn more here.


Ana Mendieta: Ochún

View this post on Instagram

Silueta Series #anamendieta

A post shared by @ nvstvrgn on

Where: The Cleveland Museum of Art
When: March 14 to August 2, 2020
Cost: Free

When it comes to the history of contemporary performance art, Ana Mendieta left a lasting legacy – particularly for women of color. Accompanying the exhibition A Graphic Revolution: Prints and Drawings in Latin America, Mendieta’s 1981 Ochún video will play in a separate gallery. The video shows a sculpture from her “Silueta” series, which uses natural materials to create silhouettes of female bodies. This particular piece uses earth from Key Biscayne, Florida to create a female figure; in it, Mendieta reflects on her immigrant identity and ideas of home and homeland. 

Learn more here.


Teresita Fernández: Elemental (Phoenix, Arizona)

Where: Phoenix Art Museum
When: March 21 to July 26
Cost: $18-$23 depending on gallery closures, Pay-What-You-Wish hours: 3–9 p.m. each Wednesday and 6–10 p.m. on the first Friday of each month

Co-organized with the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Teresita Fernández: Elemental will exhibit 50 artworks ranging from sculpture to mixed media. You might recognize Fernandez’s work from her large-scale public pieces, including her 2015 installation “Fata Morgana” on view at Madison Square Park in New York. Fernandez often engages with natural phenomena and uses materials, such as gold, with complicated, often colonial roots. Her works speak to themes of geography, history and identity. Among her many awards and accolades, Fernández was the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. 

Learn more here.


A Brush with HerStory: The Paintings of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso (Lakeland, Florida)

Where: The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College
When: Through April 12, 2020
Cost: Free

Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso digs into forgotten women in history while inserting herself into that narrative. Her self-portraits make for a surreal combination of the past and present. A Brush with HerStory: The Paintings of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso will present her paintings of female masters like Remedios Varo, Angelica Kauffman and Genevieve Estelle Jones. These artworks function as homage and as a vehicle for viewers to think more about women in history that are often overlooked by mainstream narratives.

Learn more here.


Tomás Esson: The GOAT (Miami, Florida)

Where: Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
When: May 1 to November 22, 2020
Cost: Free

Known for his often grotesque artworks, Tomás Esson really kicked off his art career in the 1980s in Havana, Cuba. But his work was met with controversy: his very first exhibition there in 1987 “was censored and closed by Cuban authorities,” according to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. The space will host Tomás Esson: The GOAT, the first solo museum presentation of his work. It will feature early works as well as a site-specific mural. 

Learn more here.


Community through Making From Peru to New Mexico (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Where: Museum of International Folk Art
When: Through May 3, 2020
Cost: $7 for New Mexico residents, $12 for non residents

The Museum of International Folk Art has been fostering creative dialogues between local artists from New Mexico and Indigenous artists as part of “Community through Making.” For the latest iteration, the museum highlights Peruvian artists. Places of Memory features the Indigenous women organizations Tewa Women United/TWU and the National Association of the Families of the Abducted, Detained, and Disappeared of Peru/ANFASEP. Street Art and Activism brings together printers, painters and muralists while Rivers of Plastic showcases the sculpture of Aymar Ccopacatty (Aymara) and Nora Naranjo Morse (Santa Clara).

Learn more here.


Rafa Esparza (Los Angeles, California)

Where: Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles
When: May 23 to July 3, 2020
Cost: Free

Working primarily in performance art, Rafa Esparza explores the effects of colonialism, the importance of personal narratives and the significance of adobe in his artistic production, among other things. The Los Angeles-based artist engages with the city but also Mexico and Latin America. Esparaza often works collaboratively, creating with queer and brown people in arts and culture. The artist has been the recipient of various grants, such as the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2015. This is Esparza’s first solo show at the gallery. 


Frida Kahlo 2020 (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)

Where: Cleve Carney Museum of Art
When: June 1 to August 31
Cost: Untimed Entry Tickets ($35) and Timed Tickets ($18)

The work of Frida Kahlo continues to impact generations of artists and creatives. Frida Kahlo 2020 will exhibit 26 pieces by the artist as well as an “immersive historical exhibit” that puts her work into context. Visitors can also learn more about how Mexico City played a role in Kahlo’s development as an artist. The works featured are on loan from Dolores Olmedo Museum collection, so it’s a great chance to see the pieces if you can’t make it to CDMX. 

Learn more here.


Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism (Portland, Oregon)

Where: Portland Art Museum
When: June 13 to September 27, 2020
Cost: $20

If you’re a Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera fan who wants to get a deeper sense of the Modernist movement, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism is a great opportunity to dive right in. The exhibition will feature self-portraits by Kahlo, a series of “rarely seen oil paintings by Rivera” and additional works by artists in the style. Expect to get lost in each intricate work and to walk away with more understanding (or a refresher) about these important artists. 

Learn more here.