Smithsonian American Art Museum Acquires Artwork by San Antonio Printmaker Juan de Dios Mora


  • McNay Art Museum
We need to get the name Juan de Dios Mora's name on our lips, because this artist is going places.

On Tuesday, the University of Texas at San Antonio's publication UTSA Today announced that the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) has acquired five of the Mexican American artist's linocut prints for its permanent collection. Mora earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees at UTSA, and now works as a senior lecturer in the college's Art Department.

Drawing from the style of the black-and-white illustrations in Mexico's Taller de Gráfica Popular, Mora's linocuts feature detailed portraits of Mexican Americans embodying typical stereotypes, as in "King de la Wirira," which translates to "King of the Weedeater." Each piece evokes a certain amount of whimsy, from a boy wearing a newspaper hat in "Ya Mero Llego" to a cowboy riding a flying broom with a horse's head in "Montando a la Escoba Voladora."

“The style and subject matter of Juan Mora’s prints speak to a life spent straddling two worlds," interim dean of UTSA's College of Liberal and Fine Arts Rhonda Gonzales told UTSA Today.

"That personal experience, that cultura, is part of what makes him such an exceptional artist and teacher enabling him to connect in a deep way with his audience and his students,” she continued.

Recently, Mora exhibited work in a solo show at the McNay Art Museum in 2017 and at a 2018 young Latinx artists showcase at Mexic-Arte in Austin. The latter is what got him noticed by SAAM's deputy chief director of Latinx art E. Carmen Ramos, who worked to acquire artwork from Mora over the course of a year and a half.

As of yet there's no word as to when Mora's pieces might grace the walls of the Washington D.C. museum, but it may just be a matter of time.

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