NEWS MFAH launches redesigned website and database for archive project

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and its research institute, the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), today launched a redesigned and enhanced website and database for the landmark Documents of Latin American and Latino Art Digital Archive Project. First launched in 2012, the ICAA Documents Project, available at icaa.mfah.org, offers access, free of charge, to source materials crucial to the study and understanding of these major fields of 20th- and 21st-century art.

The site makes available a wealth of writings by artists, critics, and curators from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. Latino communities — Chicano/a, Puerto Rican/Nuyorican, Cuban-American, and Dominican among others. 

ICAA has now brought the Documents Project into a new era through institutional partnerships that are making a wide variety of materials available for the
first time, and through features that make the website and database more accessible and user friendly.

Considered the first, and still the only, digital humanities initiative in the fields of Latin American and Latino art, the ICAA’s Documents Project cuts across national and cultural boundaries. Fully bilingual, the digital archive provides English and Spanish-speaking students, scholars, researchers, collectors and art enthusiasts full access to more than 8,200 letters, manifestos, newspaper and journal articles, exhibition reviews, and other key theoretical, critical and art-historical texts.

“It is difficult to overstate the significance of this project to the fields of Latin American and Latino art,” noted Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Margaret Alkek Williams Chair. “Twenty years ago, then-MFAH director Peter Marzio and Mari Carmen Ramírez recognized that the lack of access to primary sources was a fundamental barrier to understanding entire generations of artists who made important contributions to 20th- and now 21st-century art. By establishing the ICAA in 2001, and embarking on this monumental project, the museum moved to assure the future of the field for scholars and students, and audiences worldwide.”

Mari Carmen Ramírez, founding director of the ICAA and Wortham Curator of Latin American and Latino Art at the MFAH, commented, “Following on a phase of nearly 10 years, during which ad-hoc research teams coordinated from Houston by the ICAA operated in more than 16 Latin American and U.S. cities, the ICAA is shifting its focus toward partnerships with artist’s archives and estates, foundations, and select public and private institutions. This new phase of the Documents Project will develop and expand a host of understudied areas of research, including Latin American contemporary artistic production; the work of Latin American and Latina artists; and a significant expansion of represented Latinx artists, bothhistorical and contemporary. The website redesign enhances the database’s accessibility to users worldwide and connection to ICAA partners outside Houston.”

 

 

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