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Building Legacies in Public and in Practice

October 5, 2023 @ 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Join exhibiting artist William Estrada and Cesáreo Moreno (Chief Curator of the National Museum of Mexican Art) for a conversation that aims to trace parallels between the practices of Estrada and the late artist and activist Carlos Cortéz (1923-2005). The conversation will highlight the influence of Cortéz onto generations of Mexican-American artists in Chicago and pay particular emphasis on shared values and methodologies present in Estrada’s and Cortéz’s practices.

This program is a collaboration between Hyde Park Art Center and the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) on the occasion of the exhibition William Estrada: Multiples and Multitudes and the centennial commemoration of Carlos Cortéz’s legacy.

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About William Estrada

William Estrada is an arts educator and multidisciplinary artist. His art and teaching are a collaborative discourse that critically re-examines public and private spaces with people to engage in radical imagination. He has presented in various panels regarding community programming, arts integration, and social justice curricula. He is currently a faculty member at the UIC School of Art and Art History and a teaching artist at Telpochcalli Elementary School. William is engaging in collaborative work with the Mobilize Creative Collaborative, Chicago ACT Collective, and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. His current research is focused on developing community based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces that provide a space to collectively imagine just futures.

About Cesáreo Moreno

Cesáreo Moreno (Chicago, IL) has been with the National Museum of Mexican Art since 1992. He has been the Visual Arts Director since 1995, and was named the museum’s first full time Chief Curator in 2004. Moreno has curated numerous exhibitions for the NMMA, as well as for the El Paso Museum of Art (2013), Smithsonian Latino Center (2011), and the National Hispanic Cultural Center (2015). His most important assignments at NMMA have included curating Arte Diseño Xicágo (2018), A Declaration of Immigration (2008), and The African Presence in México: From Yanga to the Present (2006). Additionally, he has curated fourteen of the annual Day of the Dead exhibitions to date and the permanent exhibition, Nuestras Historias: Stories of Mexican Identity from the Permanent Collection. Moreno has served as a juror and panelist for numerous groups including the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Art Institute of Chicago Equity and Museum Practice Advisory, Terra Foundation for American Art Advisory, IMLS Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ford & Mellon Latinx Artist Fellowship.

About The Exhibitions: 

William Estrada: Multiples and Multitudes (Hyde Park Art Center)

Multiples and Multitudes is the first-ever solo exhibition by Chicago-based artist and educator William Estrada. Estrada’s socially-engaged practice has been rooted in Chicago neighborhoods for the last twenty years. Through collaborations with youth, community members, teachers, and other artists, and through his multifaceted art practice, Estrada aims to reimagine public and educational spaces to unite people and amplify local voices. Estrada’s work in the studio and the classroom create space literally and metaphorically for others to express themselves artistically and politically. Multiples and Multitudes will feature artworks in print, photography, performance, and video, as well as works that blur disciplinary boundaries to highlight the diversity of approaches within his practice and his unwavering commitment to political activism through art.

Carlos Cortéz 100 AÑOS (National Museum of Mexican Art)

This centennial exhibition celebrates the legacy of Carlos Cortéz Koyokuikatl (1923-2005), one of Chicago’s most important social justice artists working in the 20th century. Often a poet, often a printmaker, but always an activist, Cortéz’s life’s work uplifted the working class, marginalized communities, and social struggles by depicting scenes of labor disputes, protests, and ignored historical events and individuals.

Carlos Cortéz, an artist, poet, labor journalist, citizen activist, conscientious objector and Elder in his community, would have been 100-years-old in August 2023. He continues to hold an exceptionally dear place in the hearts of many artists and organizers, and in the history of the National Museum of Mexican Art. Cortéz used his printing press, Gato Negro, as a means to communicate messages of justice, activism, and solidarity, while his poetry repeatedly aimed to raise awareness, provoke thought, and inspire action regarding issues of inequality and oppression.