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Gallery Text

Rooted in the Mexican print tradition, Alvarez’s work invites us into the imaginary of the ever-moving space of the “borderlands.” Informed by his lived experiences as an artist from El Paso, Alvarez uses the Mexican flag’s colors as background for a story in which multiple times and spaces merge. Pre-Hispanic and popular cultural images mix with Mexico’s colonial and Catholic history. The central figure is a naked woman, the Aztec goddess Tonantzin. The Aztec god of death, Mictlantecuhtli, flanks the print, while an Aztec jade mask observes the entire composition. We see a tiny ladder, a moon, sun rays, and a pierced heart from the board game Lotería. The woman steps onto a giant chair, for Alvarez a symbol of transformative power. She leaves behind (or has been stripped of?) her ancient identity and, perhaps endowed with new sacred powers, embraces her new self, signaled by Catholic attire (a mantle with golden rays and roses). Is she becoming the borderland goddess, la Virgen de Guadalupe?

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2018.33.2
People
Danny Alvarez, American (El Paso, TX born 1964)
Title
Untitled (color)
Classification
Prints
Work Type
print
Date
2006
Culture
American
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/361177
Location
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Woodcut and offset lithograph on white wove paper
Technique
Woodcut
Dimensions
129.1 × 95.3 cm (50 13/16 × 37 1/2 in.)
Provenance
Danny Alvarez, created 2006; [Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, PA], sold; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2018.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
Copyright
© Danny Alvarez
Accession Year
2018
Object Number
2018.33.2
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Exhibition History

Prints from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives: Creative Communities, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/04/2022 - 07/31/2022

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