Visual Arts

Joe Ray, Gennaro Garcia, and Lalo Cota Present Artists on Art Tonight at Phoenix Art Museum

​To kickoff the Celebración Artística de las Américas Festival (Artistic Celebration of the Americas), a group of local artists will lead an informal discussion panel on the Phoenix Art Museum's current Latino exhibition Modern Mexican Painting for the Andrés Blaisten Collection.

Considered the world's most significant private collection of Mexican art, the exhibition is the first time the works presented will be displayed in the United States. (Read more about the exhibition in this week's art feature, Southern Exposure by Kathleen Vanesian.)

The collection includes paintings from famous Mexican artists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and Frida Kahlo, created between 1910 and 1950.

The opportunity to view the evolution and many facets that Mexican art has gone through is something that has Phoenix artists Gennaro Garcia and Joe Ray excited to discuss their impressions on the exhibition with Phoenix.

Along with fellow local artist Lalo Cota, Ray and Garcia will lead a panel tonight at 7 p.m..

"I think it's important for people to see the vastness of [the exhibition]," says Ray."You can gauge a society by what is reflected in the art. This collection is a visual, intellectual and emotional journey."

The exhibition includes political art of post-revolutionary Mexico, snapshots of contemporary life, and avant-garde experimentation of Mexican artists who studied in Europe.

Along with the paintings from Rivera and Orozco, attendees will be able to view works lesser-known Mexican artists.

"There's hundreds of Mexican artists that people haven't heard of," he says. "They need to hear about them."

Ray agrees with Garcia.

"My personal saying and belief is 'support living artists'" says Ray. "Why should the dead guys get all the glory and the groupies?"

The panel will be an informal gathering, with artists discussing personal impressions and encouraging attendees to speak of their own inspirations and views on Mexican art.

Instead of academic approach, the artists involved say their panel is coming from the gut.

​"When you go to a museum with an artist as opposed to a non-artist, it's a different experience," says Ray. "We almost run to the paintings. It's a different level of enthusiasm."

This approach to art is what the panelists hope will catch the attention of the younger crowd. 

The panelists will first hold a discussion for teenagers, before continuing with an older crowd to delve deeper into the themes and evolution of the art.

 "We'll be talking to teens about what it's like to be Mexican artists in the States," says Garcia. "Also, what we think about the collection and how it influences us."

The artists will also actively engage them, asking questions about the teenagers' impressions of the collection.

"You leave them buzzing and excited by it," says Ray. 

Artists on Art will be presented at the Phoenix Art Museum, September 14 at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the museum's website or the event page

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