Latinx Art

Artists, Markets, and Politics

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 17 color illustrations Published: August 2020

Author: Arlene Dávila

Anthropology > Museum Studies, Art and Visual Culture > Art Criticism and Theory, Chicanx and Latinx Studies

In Latinx Art Arlene Dávila draws on numerous interviews with artists, dealers, and curators to explore the problem of visualizing Latinx art and artists. Providing an inside and critical look of the global contemporary art market, Dávila's book is at once an introduction to contemporary Latinx art and a call to decolonize the art worlds and practices that erase and whitewash Latinx artists. Dávila shows the importance of race, class, and nationalism in shaping contemporary art markets while providing a path for scrutinizing art and culture institutions and for diversifying the art world.


“In this current moment of national rupture surrounding the Latino immigrant it is ironic that the new focus on Latinx artists and communities should come to the forefront as a powerful cultural movement. Arlene Dávila’s new work on Latinx art is a timely examination of the complex issues of cultural definition, art markets, race and representation, and geopolitical reference points. In the embattled world of diverse art and artists Dávila's book provides a map of clarity.” — Amalia Mesa-Bains, MacArthur fellow and coauthor of Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism

“Kudos to Arlene Dávila, founding director of the Latinx Project at New York University, and the only person who could have written this groundbreaking new book! First, identifying Latinx, perhaps most importantly, as a political constituency and as a market for art historical appreciation and consumption, Dávila makes the case for a singular recognition and consideration of a massive (and rapidly growing) part of American culture. While highlighting intersectionality in her exploration of Latinx identity, she is an astute documentarian of shared experiences in the American landscape. Yet, this book is a must-have primer for those concerned with trends in international contemporary art.” — Franklin Sirmans, Director, Pérez Art Museum Miami

"An indispensable text that considers the plights of Latinx artists through the lens of race and class disparities in both North and South America. . . . Dávila’s text is a vital resource on Latinx art, complete with a supplemented 'non-comprehensive list of artists everyone should know' and recommendations of Latinx Instagram accounts to follow." — Valentina Di Liscia, Hyperallergic

"The marketing of modern and contemporary art from Latin America is one of the success stories of the globalist decades, giving a once-niche interest a presence in big North American museums. Exactly the opposite is true of Latinx art, loosely defined as work made by artists of Latin American birth or descent who live primarily in the United States. That lack of institutional support is dictated by the politics of class, economics and race, the cultural anthropologist Arlene Dávila argues in this important broadside of a book." — Holland Cotter, New York Times

"An outstanding contribution to the field of Latinx art, this book addresses the defining traits of the art category and its place in the contemporary art world. . . .  The wide range of Latinx art experts she interviews, from artists, curators, writers, critics and gallerists, draw the contours of a remarkably vibrant cultural field that is still undervalued. Her analysis not only dissects the conditions of Latinx artistic invisibility; it also proposes a path of action to overcome them and to create a more equitable art system." — Taína Caragol, Smithsonian Magazine

"With deep research and details about the ways in which the market continues to overlook and undervalue the work of Latinx artists, Arlene Dávila’s Latinx Art is one of this year’s most important contributions to the art world as a whole. . . . That this book exists is itself an important milestone in the struggle for equity in the art world." — Maximilíano Durón, ARTnews


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Price: $25.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Arlene Dávila is Professor of Anthropology and American Studies at New York University and the author of several books, including El Mall: The Spatial and Class Politics of Shopping Malls in Latin America, Culture Works: Space, Value, and Mobility across the Neoliberal Americas, and Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments & Reader Instructions  vii
Introduction. Making Latinx Art  1
1. What Is Latinx Art? Lessons from Chicanx and Diasporican Artists  23
2. Exhibiting Latinx Art: On Critics, Curators, and Going "Beyond the Formula"  48
3. Nationalism and the Currency of Categories  79
4. On Markets and the Need for Cheerleaders  104
5. Whitewashing at Work, and Some Ways Out  138
Conclusion: At the Vanguard of Arts and Museum Activism in the Twenty-First Century  168
Appendix A: Noncomprehensive List of Artists Everyone Should Know  177
Appendix B: Additional Resources  185
Notes  189
References  203
Index  223
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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