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What's wrong with this picture? The Museo Alameda in San Antonio

You're looking at one of the photographs taken by Liz Garza Williams, whose work is currently being exhibited at the Museo Alameda in a new exhibit titled Huipiles: A Celebration.

Other artists included in this exhibit are Kathy Sosa (Republican-party advertising mogul Lionel Sosa's wife), Cristina Sosa Noriega (Lionel's daughter of the HEB
Loteria dinnerware line), Jacinto Guevara, artist, Veronica Prida, and Lionel Sosa himself.

I'm not a certified art critic, just a
Chicana who's travelled all over Mexico and who spent time in Guatemala during their civil war. The women who wear huipiles there look like Rigoberta Menchu - they are indigenous, brown, impoverished, marginalized, and supremely despised by the status quo. They look like me. The Zapatista women wear them too.

Henry R. Munoz III, the founder of the Smithsonian-affiliated Museo Alameda in downtown San Antonio, is also the Vice-Chairman of the Smithsonian Board. According to trusted sources, he spent $1.2 million dollars on the inaugural extravaganza in April of this year after the Alameda Board approved a half-a-million dollar budget. There are rumors of Henry's extravagant spending, tyranny, prima donis syndrome, and that San Antonio-based corporations, knowing how he spends money, refuse to contribute.

The New York Times blasted the Alameda for its poor artistic quality, making an exception for el Franco Mondini-Ruiz's Botanica installation and John Dyer's Conjunto photographs.

The Museo Alameda purports to tell "stories by the people themselves." Officially, sixty percent of the people in San Antonio are Latina/os. The majority are poor, working-class, without benefit of an education that gives them a context to understand their rich, hybrid experiences. The Museo Alamada considers itself as the "largest latino museum in the country," costing $12 million dollars to renovate on the site of the former Alameda Theatre, built in 1949.

When I look at a photograph like this, it hurts me to the tripas.

The City of San Antonio's Office of Cultural Affairs is due to consider $630,000 to the Museo Alameda for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

Over thirty years ago, Chicana/o artists established cultural centers around the country, defiant at the major institution's denial of their work. We raged at the museum's elitism, cultural appropriation, sterilization - and the virtual exclusion - of historical and political context.

Now, look closely. We finally got our own
chingon museum - and look what we've done.

I really doubt that Lionel Sosa and his Republican political family cares very much about
las mujeres who wear huipiles in Mexico or Guatemala. Or the children from el westside of San Antonio who are going to learn that huipiles are for las ricas and las gringas and las gueras.

And I'm sure the reception going on right now is lavish, elegant, and may Lionel Sosa, Kathy Sosa, Christine Sosa Noriega, et al., never see a
huipil soaked in blood and resistance.

photograph, titled "Hot Hot Hot!" of Maria Del Mar Himmelstach byLiz Garza Williams from


Verdi said…
That's fucked up.
Susana Risas said…
-verdades y verguenzas de esta ciudad. thank you for posting it like it is.
Ricardo X said…
that is the most fucked up thing i have seen in a while...and i've been to Washington, D.C.
Camille said…
Gracias Barbara,

I really appreciate your hard work at telling it like it really is.

Camille said…
Gracias Barbara for the Alameda report - I appreciate your hard work on getting the truth out.


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