Phoenix Art Museum premieres major Amalia Mesa-Bains exhibition
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Phoenix Art Museum premieres major Amalia Mesa-Bains exhibition
Amalia Mesa-Bains, Queen of the Waters, Mother of the Land of the Dead: Homenaje a Tonatzin/Guadalupe, 1992. Mixed media installation including fabric drape, six jeweled clocks, mirror pedestals with grottos, nicho box, found objects, dried flowers, dried pomegranate, potpourri; 120 x 216 x 72 in. Courtesy of the artist and Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco.



PHOENIX, ARIZ.- Phoenix Art Museum has unveiled a special-engagement exhibition Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory, highlighting the artist’s signature large-scale altar-installations and lesser-known works. PhxArt will also host art talks inspired by Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory.

Organized by Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Amalia Mesa- Bains: Archaeology of Memory is the first major retrospective to explore the historically significant work and career of Amalia Mesa-Bains, who has been heralded as a pioneer of feminist and Chicanx art. Mesa-Bains’ artistic contributions have been well recognized, including by a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 1992. Archaeology of Memory brings together for the first time nearly 60 works created over 45 years, including the artist’s renowned altar- installations, in a long-overdue celebration of her enduring impact on contemporary art both within and beyond the United States. Visitors can also examine the artist’s lesser-studied handmade books and palimpsest prints characterized by her signature archeological aesthetic of layering and excavation.

Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory is organized by Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) in collaboration with the Latinx Research Center (LRC) at UC Berkeley. The exhibition is co-curated by María Esther Fernández, Artistic Director, The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum, and Laura E. Pérez, PhD, Professor of Chicanx, Latinx and Ethnic Studies, and Chair of the Latinx Research Center, UC Berkeley. Its presentation at Phoenix Art Museum is coordinated by Christian Ramírez, the Cohn Assistant Curator of Contemporary and Community Art Initiatives.

Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory is made possible by generous lead support from the Henry Luce Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The exhibition’s presentation at Phoenix Art Museum is made possible through the generosity of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Exhibition Endowment Fund. All exhibitions at Phoenix Art Museum are underwritten by the Phoenix Art Museum Exhibition Excellence Fund, founded by The Opatrny Family Foundation with additional major support provided by Joan Cremin. In-kind support provided by Kimpton Hotel Palomar.

Phoenix Art Museum
Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory
November 5th, 2023 – February 5th, 2024










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