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Utah museum showcases art and culture of Mexico

By Carole Mikita | Posted - May 6, 2010 at 4:11 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- The rich culture and art of Mexico have come in a new exhibit to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

The artwork spans thousands of years from ancient pieces to the 20th Century. Curators plan to include community activities and have even changed their exhibit communication style to make it more inclusive.

From the ancient creations of the Mayans and the Aztecs -- rich in jewelry and precious stones -- to woven fabrics and masks and religious objects to the paintings of modern masters like Diego Rivera, these artworks tell the history of Mexico.

"There are almost 100 in the ‘Las Artes de Mexico' exhibition, really telling you the story of 3,500 years of art making in the area that, today, is known as Mexico," said Gretchen Dietrich, acting director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

The exhibit represents the finest collection of Mexican art in North America.
The exhibit represents the finest collection of Mexican art in North America.

The exhibit, two years in the planning, came from the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Okla. It represents the finest collection of Mexican art in North America.

Curators are hoping Latinos will come to experience this art in their own language.

This exhibit has a first for the museum: All of the plaques that contain descriptions about time periods are written in both English and Spanish.

"We've created audio tours, which you can download onto your own cell phone in both English and Spanish," Dietrich said.

The museum staff made the exhibit as community-friendly as possible. Brockbank Junior High students toured it first, and their creative efforts -- based on the exhibit -- will then hang on the walls near the cafeteria.

"I think it's like an amazing that we, like, get to put up our artwork and let other people see what we've made," said Pisith Mankhong, an 8th-grader at Brockbank.

Some students say they are impressed that the museum is so prominently featuring the art of their ancestors.

"It's my culture, the same," said Angeles Hernandez, also in the 8th grade at Brockbank. "I'm Hispanic, too. It does, a big celebration for that.

"Las Artes de Mexico" opened Thursday and will be at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on the University of Utah campus through Sept. 26. For more information on tickets, parking, other activities, CLICK HERE.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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