DAM Exhibition to Spotlight 19 Contemporary Artists from Across Latin America and the Caribbean in July 2022

Who tells a tale adds a tail: Latin America and contemporary art showcases commissioned work exploring global themes through fiction and storytellin

Denver — March 29, 2022 — The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will present Who tells a tale adds a tail: Latin America and contemporary art, an exhibition featuring mostly site-specific, commissioned artworks by emerging artists in dialogue with the unique architecture of the museum’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building designed by Daniel Libeskind.

Close-up of an open mouth on a synethic face

Vitória Cribb, @ilusão, 2020. © and courtesy of Vitória Cribb.

The exhibition highlights the work of 19 contemporary artists connected to Latin America and the ways in which their work reflects and interacts with relevant themes ranging from technology to ideas surrounding identity, to broader social and political issues. The exhibition will be presented in the museum’s Modern and Contemporary Art galleries on level four and around the Denver Art Museum campus. Opening July 31, 2022, and on view through March 5, 2023, Who tells a tale adds a tail will be included in general museum admission, which is free for members and kids 18 and under every day.

Organized by the DAM, Who tells a tale adds a tail is the first major exhibition curated at the museum by Raphael Fonseca, the DAM’s inaugural Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art, who currently resides in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 19 participating millennial-generation artists from countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico, have developed work that creates new worlds and realities, inviting spectators to engage in narratives through a multitude of media: painting, sculpture, installation, textile, video, sound, digital and performance art.

Map of Mexico outline in pink neon lights

Alan Sierra, Sin título (Mapa de México) [Untitled (Map of Mexico], 2020. © Alan Sierra. Photo: Deslave.

“Each of the participating artists has an incredible body of work, and their site-responsive installations for Who tells a tale adds a tail will activate the Hamilton Building with their own voices and lenses on the contemporary Latin American experience,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “This one-of-a-kind exhibition demonstrates the DAM’s commitment to shaping the museum into a space where multiple voices and perspectives are presented in our galleries, encouraging open-spirited conversations inspired by the works on view.”

Reflecting this theme of interaction between artist and audience, the exhibition title is inspired by a proverb from Fonseca’s homeland, Brazil. “Quem conta um conto, aumenta um ponto” directly translates to “who tells a tale, adds a point,” stressing the significance of pushing a momentum forward by continuing a conversation, something each of these artists strives to do through their work. The exhibition is designed to demonstrate how the ideas of storytelling and dialogue are essential to contemporary art practice; many of the pieces on view incorporate elements from the artists’ own life stories or historical narratives, and invite the visitor to create their own stories and responses to the works.

Featured artists in the exhibition include:

  • Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio (Los Angeles, b. 1990)
  • ASMA (Mexico – Ecuador, b. 2017)
  • Adrián Balseca (Ecuador, b. 1989)
  • Seba Calfuqueo (Chile, b. 1991)
  • Gabriel Chaile (Argentina, b. 1985)
  • Vitória Cribb (Brazil, b. 1996)
  • Juan Fuentes (México/Denver, b. 1990)
  • Claudia Martinez Garay (Peru, b. 1983)
  • Juan Pablo Garza (Venezuela, b. 1980)
  • Hulda Guzmán (Dominican Republic, b. 1984)
  • Caleb Hahne-Quintana (Denver, b. 1993)
  • Randolpho Lamonier (Brazil, b. 1988)
  • Tessa Mars (Haiti, b. 1985)
  • Andrés Pereira Paz (Bolivia, b. 1986)
  • Antonio Pichillá (Guatemala, b. 1982)
  • Gabriela Pinilla (Colombia, b. 1982)
  • Ana Segovia (México, b. 1991)
  • Alan Sierra (México, b. 1990)
  • Yuli Yamagata (Brazil, b. 1989)
Cartoonish figures set against realistic newspapers displaying headlines of police propaganda

Gabriela Pinilla, Barrio Policarpa, 2012. © Gabriela Pinilla. Photo: Gabriela Pinilla

“The artists come from diverse backgrounds representing different Latin American countries and communities, and their work presents vivid and complex perspectives that may be new to museum visitors,” said curator Fonseca. “The exhibition explores questions of what it means to inhabit identities such as Latin American, Latinx, indigenous or native, or queer, within the context of present-day phenomena like global hegemony, pandemics, climate change, and assault on human and civil rights.”

Dynamics between nature and extractivism, the power relations between different geographies around the globe and the history of natural resources in their countries and regions are among the themes explored by the artists in Who tells a tale adds a tail. Several of the artists’ works deal with the relations between images and texts, the juxtaposition of ideas and concepts to express contradictory realities in their own lives.

Black and white photo of a group of neighborhood kids posing for the camera

Juan Fuentes, Westwood Kids, 2020. © Juan Fuentes. Photo: Juan Fuentes.

Born between 1981 and 1996, the artists belong to the first generation in history to have grown up totally immersed in a world of digital technology, and experience that uniquely shaped their identities and created lasting political, social and cultural attitudes and perspectives. Presenting millennial points of view and narratives via a multitude of media, the artists in Who tells a tale adds a tail push forward and challenge conversations on violence, domination and destruction of different cultures from colonial eras to contemporary times. Several of the artists’ works present the juxtaposition of ideas and concepts to express contradictory realities in their own lives, while other works utilize historical images, which are appropriated and then inserted into new narratives.

“The power of this exhibition is in the combination of what ties the artists and their works together, as well as what separates and distinguishes them,” said Fonseca. “In spite of this geographical and generational umbrella, the works in the show are much more extensive than anyone could expect. These artists show how the same generation related to a geography can have so many different approaches to art, the idea of fiction, the use of existent images to invoke new ideas and the appeal to the human body are topics explored throughout.”

Man in purple face in surreal orange and blue landscape

Tessa Mars, Untitled, Praying for the visa, 2019. © Tessa Mars. Photo: Tessa Mars.

Artist biographies are available in the Who tells a tale adds a tail media kit, providing additional content on the suite of featured artists and planned works on view. A companion publication also will be created once the pieces are installed in the gallery, featuring essays by Latin American curators of the same generation as the featured artists.

As one of the principal themes in Who tells a tale..., the interaction between artist and audience is highlighted through experiences and opportunities for connection. In Alan Sierra’s installation, there will be four homoerotic Spanish-language poetry readings, the first led by Sierra and the remaining three will be performed by other poets, also in Spanish. Conversely, Gabriel Chaile’s artistic practice is rooted in his family’s legacy in ceramic-making and baking. Chaile’s artwork is meant to be seen and experienced, inspiring people to gather and share in the communal ritual of baking and eating collectively. During the opening of Who tells a tale... Chaile’s oven will be fired up by the artist and a local chef.

Who tells a tale adds a tail: Latin America and contemporary art is organized by the Denver Art Museum. It is presented with the generous support of The Andy Warhol

Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by the Birnbaum Social Discourse Project, donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the residents who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine and CBS4.

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About the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its mission is to enrich lives by sparking creative thinking and expression. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro residents support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit www.denverartmuseum.org.

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Image Credits*

*Because several works in this exhibition are site-specific, the images in this release are prior works by the credited artists.

  • Image 1: Vitória Cribb, @ilusão, 2020. ©Vitória Cribb. Photo: Natalie Lerner and Mattia Angelini.
  • Image 2: Alan Sierra, Sin título (Mapa de México) [Untitled (Map of Mexico], 2020. ©Alan Sierra. Photo: Deslave.
  • Image 3: Gabriela Pinilla, Barrio Policarpa, 2012. ©Gabriela Pinilla. Photo: Gabriela Pinilla.
  • Image 4: Juan Fuentes, Westwood Kids, 2020. ©Juan Fuentes. Photo: Juan Fuentes.
  • Image 5: Tessa Mars, Untitled, Praying for the visa, 2019. ©Tessa Mars. Photo: Tessa Mars.