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Contemporary Ex-Voto: Devotion Beyond Medium

Contemporary Ex-Votos: Devotion Beyond Medium
On view September 30–December 22, 2022.
CONTACT:  Jasmine Herrera, Art Museum Coordinator, NMSU University Art Museum (575-646-2545jasminew@nmsu.edu)

Las Cruces, NM—The NMSU Art Museum is pleased to present Contemporary Ex-Votos: Devotion Beyond Medium, the first exhibition to pair 19th–20th century retablos from the NMSU Permanent Art Collection with new works by contemporary Latinx artists. Guest curated by Dr. Emmanuel Ortega, Marilynn Thoma Scholar and Assistant Professor in Art of the Spanish Americas at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), this exhibition sheds light on the understudied iconographic and ideological aspects of ex-votos, a type of retablo (small devotional painting) depicting miracles painted on tin and found materials. 

The NMSU Art Museum houses the largest collection of Mexican retablos in the U.S. This exhibition demonstrates the important place retablos hold in the history of the Americas; it recontextualizes studies of contemporary devotion in Latin America and the U.S. by commissioning artists to research the retablo collection. This show results in site-specific works that consider how retablos are more than by-products of colonialism, illuminating current socio-political issues of class, race, and gender through artistic methodologies of resistance. 

Emergent Latinx artists selected by Dr. Ortega will utilize the historic retablo collection to create and respond to ex-votos that challenge classification as part of the Mexican folk-art tradition depicting transhistorical religious narratives.The scale of the commissioned works, experimentation with medium, and disparate approaches to contemporary devotion represent new perspectives on this important and often overlooked genre of art. “Artists undertake a dialogue between historic and new works allowing us to make sense of ex-votos beyond ethnographic and artistic hierarchies.” says Dr. Ortega. Invited artists include Justin Favela, Eric J. García, Francisco Guevara, Dan45 Hernandez, Juan Molina Hernández, John Jota Leaños, Guadalupe Maravilla, Yvette Mayorga, Daisy Quezada Ureña, Krystal Ramirez, Sandy Rodriguez, Xochi Solis, and José Villalobos.  

For more information, visit the UAM website.