Mari Carmen Ramirez

The Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA) started with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2001 when the Latin American art department was established.  She has reappraised numerous Latin American artists and collections during her 10 year tenure; among the most recent the Carlos Cruz-Diez: Color in Space and Time (MFAH, 2011); Joaquín Torres-García: Constructing Abstraction with Wood (The Menil Collection, 2009-10); North Looks South: Building the Latin American Collection (2009);  and among others; Dimensions of Constructive Art in Brazil: The Adolpho Leirner Collection (2007); Hélio Oiticica: The Body of Color (MFAH and Tate Modern, 2006-2007); and Gego: Between Transparency and the Invisible (traveling exhibition, 2005-2007).  In tandem with Héctor Olea, she also curated Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America (MFAH, 2004) awarded by the International Association of Art Critics as the “Best Thematic Museum Show Nationally” in the USA. More recently, New York Times art critic Holland Cotter declared Inverted Utopias one of the two most important exhibitions of the past decade. Establishing the department’s research arm, the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), Ramirez’s most ambitious project yet, will be the launching of the ICAA website this fall, a major digital archive and anthology of 10,000 documents devoted to 20th century Latin American and Latino art.  Though Ramírez has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago, she says “my role models were never academics. I come from a tradition where intellectuals and artists are part of the public sphere, where they participate in forging public life on a daily basis.”

Back to Open Forum . Prime Time Program