CONTACT: Javier Flores, 210-207-6960
SAN ANTONIO (July 12, 2018) – To artist Alberto Mijangos, “159” was more than a number – it was a symbol. It signified the beginning (“1”), middle (“5”), and end (“9”) of life, and he consistently incorporated the number into his artwork, which dealt with social and spiritual issues.
Now, San Antonio residents and visitors can experience and journey through the life and work of Mijangos in the first-ever comprehensive retrospective of the artist in a new exhibit at Centro de Artes. “Alberto Mijangos: 159” is presented by the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, and curated by Teresa Eckmann, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
The exhibit, free and open to the community, opens Thursday, July 12, 2018 with a public reception from 6-9 p.m. and runs through Sunday, November 11, 2018. Centro de Artes Gallery is located at 101 S. Santa Rosa on the grounds of Historic Market Square. The exhibit is part of San Antonio’s Tricentennial commemoration.
The 96 artworks comprising this retrospective trace Mijangos’ artistic trajectory over a half-century from neo-figuration, to figurative abstraction, to post-modern appropriation as he mines themes such as flags, t-shirts, underwear, and Eduard Manet’s notorious “Olympia” (1863). Large-scale mixed media canvases boast of satisfying, richly layered surfaces, varied textures, and a poetic and culturally laden use of text, humor, and spirituality.
“This exhibition and its accompanying catalog seek to uncover for a broad audience the hidden treasure that is Alberto Mijangos’ oeuvre, as well as his significant role in advancing cultural exchange across the border,” Eckmann said. “His further contributions to the developing local arts community in San Antonio as teacher and spiritual guide were tremendous.”
Mijangos was born in Mexico City in 1925 and died in San Antonio in 2007. He moved to San Antonio in the 1950s after having lived in several cities along the U.S.-Mexico border and in Chicago. In San Antonio, Mijangos built displays at Joske’s Department Store and set up a gallery and studio practice at La Villita. In 1959, he secured a diplomatic visa and the title of Mexican Cultural Attaché hired by the Ministry of Foreign Relations as the Mexican Consulate’s gallery director, as well as coordinator of the Consulate’s arts, dance, and language school, the Mexican-American Cultural Interchange Institute, which became the Mexican Cultural Institute. Mijangos was its first director until 1973.
He also freelanced as art director of the pioneering Spanish International Network (now known as Univision) in San Antonio, which was the first Spanish-language television network in the United States. Later, he ran the Blue Door Gallery and Salon Mijangos. At these, and the Southwest School of Art, he committed his time and energy to painting and teaching until his death.
“Alberto Mijangos made many artistic and cultural contributions to our city, most notably influencing an entire generation of San Antonio artists,” said Debbie Racca-Sittre, Director of the Department of Arts & Culture. “This retrospective showcases his legacy as an artist, teacher, and mentor, and provides the unique opportunity for people to learn more about the life of Alberto Mijangos in a way that has never been done before.”
Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio’s Zona Cultural, Centro de Artes is a two-story exhibit space dedicated to telling the story of the Latino experience with a focus on South Texas through local and regional art, history and culture, and showcasing Latino artists and Latino-themed artworks.
PHOTO CREDIT: Wesley OldhamCentro de Artes Gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. More information is available at GetCreativeSanAntonio.com.
Your guide to arts and culture events in San Antonio is GetCreativeSanAntonio.com.