National Gallery of Art Names Its First-Ever Curator of Latinx Art

This summer, curator and art historian Natalia Ángeles Vieyra will be joining the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, as the institution’s first-ever curator of Latinx Art. With her expertise in 19th-century through contemporary Latinx, Latin American, and Caribbean art, Vieyra will assist with further developing the NGA’s existing holdings in this area through new acquisitions, scholarship, exhibitions, and public programming.

“I am excited to engage with the rich historic collections at the NGA, and to think about how these collections can be activated through collaborations with contemporary Latinx artists and the Latinx community — both in DC and nationally,” Vieyra told Hyperallergic, noting her specific expertise on 19th-century Puerto Rican painter Francisco Oller, the subject of her dissertation at Temple University.

Vieyra has held fellowships at various museums on the East Coast and has worked as a curatorial assistant at both the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The term “Latinx” has been the subject of heated discussions in recent years, as scholars across different fields have attempted to define a vast and heterogeneous demographic group of Latin American descent in the United States. Though the new position’s title refers to “Latinx art,” Vieyra will be engaging with works by non-diasporic artists as well. She will be joining a team of seven curators in the NGA’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art to work on the museum’s 20th- and 21st-century collections and shows, and will partner with other departments to further integrate Latinx art and perspectives throughout the institution’s programming.

The NGA embarked on a search for the position after receiving a $500,000 grant from the Getty Foundation in early 2023. The grant is a part of the Advancing Latinx Art in Museums (ALAM) initiative — a combined $5 million funding pool from the Mellon, Ford, Getty, and Terra foundations distributed across 10 institutions to support Latinx art acquisitions and develop permanent curatorial roles specific to Latinx art as well.

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