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Albright College Announces New Acquisition of Jesse Amado for Freedman Gallery Permanent Collection

by Albright College

May 20, 2019
Albright College

Reading, PA – Albright College has acquired mix-media artwork “I am not your Mexican (Harlot)” by Jesse Amado, for the Freedman Gallery’s permanent collection.

One of the pioneers of working with Latino identity politics in a conceptual manner, Amado’s artwork is found in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington D.C.; El Museo Del Barrio, New York, NY; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, among others. “I am not your Mexican (Harlot)” is mix-media artwork made from le Corbusier acrylic on canvas with elements of wood, chicharrón (pork rind), and felt.

The acquisition is made under the new curatorial leadership for the Freedman Gallery, Alana J. Coates. “Working closely with the Freedman’s Visual Arts Committee, I selected Amado’s work feeling strongly that it is time to increase our holdings, display and scholarship on artworks from Latino, Latina and Latinx artists,” states Coates, curator of exhibitions and collections. “Especially with the changing demographics of the city of Reading, which is nearly 65% Latino, we want both the collections and the exhibitions to better reflect the community and student body that it serves.”

Maite Barragán, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history at Albright College, and member of the Freedman Gallery’s advisory committee states, “Jesse Amado’s artwork remarks on issues of identity and representation in the history of art. The title immediately calls attention to the artist’s Mexican heritage and parallels that of the film “I Am Not Your Negro” (2016). The movie, based on James Baldwin’s writing, offers a history of the systematic marginalization of Black American historical figures and events through their misrepresentation (or under-representation) in mainstream historical narratives. Thus, the title’s reference serves as an entry point to understand art that may at first appear to be highly conceptual or purely abstract. Instead, “I am not your Mexican (Harlot)” compels us to reconsider the art historical canon for the twenty-first century.”

Albright College is thrilled to add this important artwork to its prestigious collection of nearly 2,000 objects. “I am not your Mexican (Harlot)” is particularly important for its innovative use of chicharrón, which is a highly-charged food product with both cultural and social-economic commentary. Its mixed-media construction and use of untraditional materials makes it an excellent educational artwork for studio and arts administration classes learning about collection management in the 21st century. “I am not your Mexican (Harlot)” builds off of important historical-artistic frameworks and references some of the most important artists of the 20thcentury including Yves Klein, Joseph Beuys, Le Corbusier, making it a wonderful teaching object for art history classes.

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