Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World

Resnick Pavilion
November 6, 2011–January 29, 2012

Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World examines the significance of indigenous peoples within the artistic landscape of colonial Latin America. The exhibition offers a comparative view of the two principal viceroyalties of Spanish America—Mexico and Peru—from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Under colonial rule, Amerindians were not a passive or homogenous group but instead commissioned art for their communities and promoted specific images of themselves as a polity. By taking into consideration the pre-Columbian (Inca and Aztec) origins of these two vast geopolitical regions and their continuities and ruptures over time, Contested Visions offers an arresting perspective on how art and power intersected in the Spanish colonial world. The exhibition is divided into themes:

Contested Visions
Tenochtitlan and Cuzco Pre-Columbian Antecedents

Ancient Styles in the New Era
Conquest and New World Orders
The Devotional Landscape and the Indian as Good Christian
Indian Festivals and Sacred Rituals
Memory, Genealogy, and Land

NEW: Contested Visions Goes to  Mexico City / Miradas comparadas en los virreinatos de América inaugura en la ciudad de México July 12—October 7, 2012. Press release.

Exhibition Checklist in Mexico City (Lista de obra en la ciudad de México)

In conjunction with the exhibition, LACMA hosted a 3-day international symposium with distinguished scholars in the field. View the complete program and abstracts from the event. In addition, a special film series curatored by Marlene Dermer explored themes from the exhibition.

This exhibition was co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.  It was made possible in part by Camilla Chandler Frost, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support was provided by Alice and Nahum Lainer; Betty and Brack Duker; Ambassador Frank and Kathy Baxter; Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation; Derek Johns, Ltd., London; Coll & Cortés, Madrid; and Janet Dreisen Rappaport.

Image: Unknown, Folding Screen with Indian Wedding and Head-Flying Pole (Biombo con desposorio de indios y palo volador) (Detail) (circa 1690) Oil on canvas, 66 x 120 in. (167.64 x 304.8 cm), Purchased with funds provided by the Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art Deaccession Fund. M.2005.54. Photo © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA.

Demonstration of the Indians' Dance (Mitote)
circa 1780
“Netzahualcoyotl, Lord of Texcoco” from Codex Ixtlixochitl
Mexico, Texcoco
circa 1582
Ear Ornaments
Peru, Chimú
14th–15th century
Marriage of Martín de Loyola to Princess Doña Beatriz, and Don Juan Borja to Princess Lorenza
Peru, Cuzco school

The Influence of Japanese Art on Colonial Mexican Painting

It may come as a surprise to some, but the relationship between Japan and Latin America dates back to the seventeenth century.  Japanese folding screens were first introduced to New Spain as exports by way of the Manila Galleon trade and by Japanese embassies that brought them to Mexico as gifts in the early decades of the seventeenth century....

Installing the Aztec Eagle Warrior in Contested Visions

At the opening of Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World stands the majestic sculpture known as the Eagle Warrior, from the Museo del Templo Mayor in Mexico City. This incredible example of Aztec imperial sculpture was discovered in the House of Eagles at the north end of the Templo Mayor archaeological site in 1980. The House of Eagles was used by the Aztec elite for meditation, prayer, and autosacrifice—an act performed to propitiate the deities of the earth and maintain cosmic order...