Public Programs: Museums Planning

Period of Performance

4/1/2006 - 10/31/2008

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Contested Visions: The Image of the American Indian in Colonial Mexico and Peru

FAIN: MP-50009-06

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA 90036-4504)
Ilona Katzew (Project Director: September 2005 to February 2009)

Planning for a traveling exhibition and a catalog on continuities of pre-conquest artistic traditions in colonial Mexico and Peru and the multiple contexts in which native peoples are represented.

Media Coverage

The New Season: Byzantium to the Bronx, a World of Art (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Karen Rosenberg
Publication: The New York Times
Date: 9/15/2011
Abstract: A calendar of noteworthy cultural events selected by Times critics. CONTESTED VISIONS IN THE SPANISH COLONIAL WORLD This show compares and contrasts the cultures of 15th-to-19th-century Mexico and Peru, the two principal viceroyalties of Spanish America. Nov. 6 through Jan. 29 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; (323) 857-6000,

Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World (Review)
Publication: The Art Newspaper
Date: 11/6/2011
Abstract: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (Lacma) commitment to raising the profile of the historic art of Latin America continues with this international loan exhibition organised by the LA museum and Mexico City’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. “Contested Vision in the Spanish Colonial World” traces how art made by indigenous peoples, Spanish and mestizos, those of mixed Spanish and Indian heritage, reflected the cultural complexities and continuities of life after the arrival of the Conquistadors and Christian missionaries. It follows “The Arts in Latin America, 1492-1820”, a panoramic view of the arts of the Spanish New World organised by Lacma, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City (2006-07), and Lacma’s redisplay of its permanent collection in 2008. Through “Contested Visions”, Ilona Katzew, Lacma’s curator of Latin American art, wants to move away from a simplistic idea that there was a cultural “break” after th

Going Native (Review)
Author(s): Robin Cembalest
Publication: Let My People Show
Date: 11/7/2011
Abstract: Check out the outfit on the woman to the left of this devotional work, Our Lady of Cocharcas - Virgin with Indian Worshipers. It’s a striped woolen shawl worn by the Aymara, an indigenous group native to the region around La Paz, where this painting was made by an unknown artist in 1752. Now look the elaborate feather headdresses worn by the other donors, part of an ensemble more appropriate to warriors from the Amazon. That’s the artist’s conception of the Chunchos, a native group considered more pagan and savage than the Aymara, who lived amidst the Spaniards as converts to Christianity. In scenes depicted in not only in paintings but also on queros (Andean drinking vessels), Aymara men often dressed—and danced—as these lowlands Indians in festivals to make a complex statement about their own identity. One motive, it’s thought, was to act out in ways that were normally off limits in colonial society—while another was to highlight their own subservience to the people in charge by

LACMA pushes boundaries with four new exhibits (Review)
Publication: Orange County Register
Date: 11/11/2011
Abstract: If the Los Angeles County Museum of Art can be faulted for any shortcoming these days, it can't be for lack of ambition. The museum has recently opened two sprawling, ambitious exhibitions: "Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World," and "California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way." They're both in LACMA's new, $53 million Resnick Pavilion. Next door at the 3-year-old Broad Contemporary Art Museum, "Asco: Elite of the Obscure" and "Glenn Ligon: America" explore chapters and aspects of recent American history and culture that aren't frequently brought to light. "Contested Visions" is the newest show, examining the art and representations of indigenous peoples in colonial Mexico and Peru from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The exhibit features about 200 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, codices, manuscripts, queros (ceremonial drinking vessels), featherworks and other objects. While there are some impressive sculpted works taken from the ancient Aztec c

Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World at LACMA (Review)
Author(s): Sandra Barrera
Publication: Daily News
Date: 11/13/2011
Abstract: Before the Spaniards conquered the Americas, the Aztecs and Incas already had rich and varied artistic traditions - and they subsequently flourished even as European customs got layered on top. "It's that very careful and fine balance of negotiation and mutual adjustment, and accommodation of systems of value, power and art, that you can see here," says Ilona Katzew, curator of "Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World," on view through Jan. 29 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Nearly 10 years in the making, the exhibition illustrates what happened when cultures collided as featured in the more than 200 works including sculptures, textiles, paintings, manuscripts and other objects drawn from Mexico and Peru from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The works are organized into six sections, beginning with one that brings together pre-conquest monumental Aztec sculptures juxtaposed with exquisite Incan textiles. Just inside the opening gallery an eagle warrior sculptu

Contested Visions at LACMA (Review)
Author(s): William Poundstone
Publication: Los Angeles County Museum on Fire
Date: 11/14/2011
Abstract: LACMA’s new mega-exhibition, “Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World” brings together about 200 Aztec, Inca, and Spanish Colonial objects, with a special focus on Colonial painting. Much of the painting works like north-of-the-Rio-Grande folk art, only darker and more ambivalent. I don’t suppose Ammi Phillips or Grandma Moses were sublimating rage against the Eurotrash overlords. In Mexico and Peru, it was a little more dicey. The first few rooms display Mexican and Peruvian objects from about the time of the conquest. (Left, silver maize stalks, supporting the conquistador legend that the Incas had a sterling silver corn field.) After that, it’s a wild ride. The exhibition is really about what came after, the hybrid “colonial” art that museums and collectors once shunned as inauthentic. The Incas had no tradition of portraiture until the Spanish came along and slaughtered everybody worth portraying. Forty years after the conquest, Tupac Amaru launched a neo-Inca rebellion (

Art Review: Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World, LACMA (Review)
Author(s): Christopher Knight
Publication: Los Angeles Times
Date: 11/30/2011
Abstract: In 1910 a California company produced a tourist postcard showing a flatbed railroad car rumbling across the sun-drenched Golden State, hauling just two strawberries. Each fruit was roughly the size of a pachyderm. The picture is an early example of what soon became a flood of promotional images that cast the place as an exotic but industrious region of unimaginable wonders. Mars always needs women, but early 20th century California needed to attract people too. A picture of gargantuan strawberries might not be taken literally by the postcard's bemused recipient, but the enticing enthusiasm of its message was clear. Although the "big berries" pitch today appears quaint, it was hardly unprecedented. Not by a long shot. About 125 years before, similar representations were made in Ecuador. At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a large and engrossing new show includes four big canvases painted in 1783 by Vicente Albán. Just a few of the 181 rarely traveled works assembled for

LACMA's Ilona Katzew muses on the worlds of Contested Visions (Review)
Author(s): Reed Johnson
Publication: Los Angeles Times
Date: 12/12/2011
Abstract: While coming of age as a Mexico City teenager, Ilona Katzew used to skip school to hang out in the capital's ornate Baroque churches and treasure-stuffed museums. The experience was an education in itself, a sensory immersion in the soul of a city that was a teeming metropolis decades before Columbus set foot in the New World. "Growing up in Mexico City I was always aware of the culture around me," Katzew said during a recent interview at LACMA, where she serves as department head of Latin American art. "It was just something that I had in me, for better or for worse." Katzew has put that background to work repeatedly at LACMA with several popular, academically impressive shows that bridge antique and modern sensibilities. They include "Casta Painting: Images of Race in Eighteenth-Century Mexico" in 2004, and "The Arts in Latin America: 1492-1820," a 2007 production that Times art critic Christopher Knight dubbed a "landmark" for revealing both the ornamental pomp and "trippy" in

2011 Year in Review: Best in Art (Review)
Author(s): Christopher Knight
Publication: Los Angeles Times
Date: 12/15/2011
Abstract: In chronological order of their opening, these are the nine California museum shows, plus one show that could have been, that I enjoyed most in 2011 (the final three are still on view): Charles Garabedian: A Retrospective, Santa Barbara Museum of Art. An innovator in the return to national prominence of figurative painting more than 30 years ago, Garabedian took his place among the best painters Los Angeles has produced. Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman, San Diego Museum of Art. A concise gem of a show that demonstrated how the British artist’s pictures of women, many of them performers, underscored the theatrical power of Gainsborough’s own dazzling brush. William Leavitt: Theater Objects, Museum of Contemporary Art. After 40 years of making mass media-inflected paintings and installations that hummed along just below the larger public radar, Leavitt stepped forward in a retrospective survey that had the quiet force of revelation. Paris: Life & Luxury in the 18th Cen

Associated Products

Contested Visions in the Spansh Colonial World (Catalog)
Title: Contested Visions in the Spansh Colonial World
Author: Ilona Katzew
Abstract: 2 copies recieved. 1- JM, 1- Common Room (requested 3 additional copies through JM)
Year: 2011
Primary URL:
Catalog Type: Exhibition Catalog
Publisher: Musuem Associates/Los Angeles County Museum of Arts Yale University Press, New Haven and London