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Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010

New Exhibits at Latino Arts, Museum of Wisconsin Art

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The works of award-winning Mexican architect Luis Barrágan and Milwaukee’s Francisco X. Mora redefine the modernist aesthetic in upcoming exhibitions at Latino Arts Inc. and the Museum of Wisconsin Art, respectively.

Beginning Sept. 10, the United Community Center’s Latino Arts Inc. presents a sophisticated retrospective titled “Luis Barragán Legacy” (through Oct. 8). During his youth in Mexico, Barragán (1902-1988) studied engineering in Guadalajara, Jalisco. His later trips to Paris, where he met Le Corbusier and Ferdinand Bac, inspired him to import International Style design to Mexico City. A meeting with New York’s exiled Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco led him to add further elements into his vibrant though minimalist exteriors and interiors.

Photographs, blueprints and a video in the exhibition will illuminate why Barragán achieved his status in 20th-century architecture. He infused the European International Style with Latin American color and textural contrasts, and his building designs were shaped by light. Barragán’s Tlálpan Convent demonstrates his engineering mastery, as does the cluster of towers in Mexico City named the Torres de Satélite, both built during the 1950s.

But not until New York’s Museum of Modern Art offered a 1977 retrospective on Barragán’s work did the architect and urban planner gain well-deserved recognition. Three years later the Pritzker Prize honored his unique modernist legacy, which can be seen in the large-scale photographs and original blueprints of the Milwaukee exhibit.

The formal opening coincides with Latino Arts Inc.’s “Noche de Gala” on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. The annual fund-raiser features the 10-piece Milwaukee band De La Buena to accompany dining and dancing. The accomplished Latino Arts String Program releases its new CD, Los Viajeros(The Travelers). Tickets are required for the fund-raiser.

Beginning Sept. 22 at West Bend’s Museum of Wisconsin Art, Milwaukee artist Francisco X. Mora exhibits in the “One From Wisconsin” gallery. Mora’s narrative paintings reference traditional Mexican arts and crafts. A program on Oct. 30 from 1-4 p.m. commemorates the popular Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration.

The Museum of Wisconsin Art also opens “Here at Last! African-American Artists Who Teach at Wisconsin Colleges, Universities and Schools,” beginning with its Sneak Peak Friday on Sept. 10 at 10:30 a.m. An opening reception takes place Sunday, Sept. 12, from 1:30-4 p.m. For this exhibit, select Wisconsin educators produce grand pieces encompassing a range of mediums and cultural contexts.

Art Happenings

“Pause, To See”

Alverno College

3401 S. 39th St.

Suzanne Garr presents poignant color photographs from her travels in Bhutan, Ecuador, Nepal and Thailand at an opening reception Sept. 10 from 4:30-8 p.m.

“90-Day Lawn Ornament”

Cardinal Stritch University

6801 N. Yates Road

Outside the university’s Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies, Milwaukee artist Gary John Gresl constructs a site-specific installation. An opening reception takes place Sept. 10 from 5-8 p.m.

“New Paintings”

Tory Folliard Gallery

233 N. Milwaukee St.

Terrence James Coffman’s evocative oils and Brook Slane’s playful mixed-media paintings promise an engaging evening at an artists’ reception Sept. 10 from 5-8 p.m.