María Cristina “Tina” Tavera is a Latinx artist, independent curator, and activist influenced by her transnational upbringing between Minnesota and Mexico. Some of her work draws from a long history of relief prints from Mexico, such as Guadalupe Posada’s late nineteenth century graphic broadsides and satiric illustrations that revealed scandalous legends as well as news events. She incorporates contemporary tales told and retold that can potentially evolve to become legendary lore. Legends are not reliant on the stories’ veracity but instead circulated to share historical phenomena, to explain the supernatural, or to provide cautionary narratives.
Upon analyzing the storylines, her artwork began to question cultural and gender roles in the tales and in her own life. As observed by art historian Jamie Ratliff, “Tavera is an artist who creates complex compositions with historical and contemporary images to investigate constructions of race, ethnicity, gender, national and cultural identities. The visual imagery is appropriated from Latin American legends, commercial packaging, the media, politics, comics, maps, currency, personal photographs, graffiti, and games. Her visual vocabulary is created by layering together clever bilingual plays on meaning. Tavera’s art is often humorous and yet simultaneously confronts the dark legacy and pervasive effects of colonialism and racism in the Americas.”
Tavera has an MA in Public Affairs-Leadership in the Arts from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School. She has received fellowships and grants from the Archibald Bush Foundation, the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies program, the Museum of Modern Art-New York, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), and the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME). Tavera has exhibited and curated shows locally, nationally and internationally. As an independent curator, she prepared the international exhibition Sus Voces: Women Printmakers in Mexico at Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was co-curator for American Art its Complicated at the Minnesota Museum of American Art (“M”). Her artwork can be found in the collections of the Weisman Art Museum, Fargo Plaines Museum, and the Tweed Museum of Art. Her writings have been published nationally and internationally by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, as well as a book titled, Mexican Pulp Art.
SELECTION OF EXHIBITIONS
· Two Person exhibit: Coyotes y Gallinas, prints, Joseph Gazzuolo Fine Arts Gallery, North Hennepin Community College, October
· El Gran Choque (The Great Crash) print, portfolio, Impact 10: ENCUENTRO, Biblioteca Central de Cantabria, Salamanca, Spain, September
· Migrarte, Casa de la Universidad de California en Mexico, monprints, Mexico City, Mexico, April
· Art is My Weapon, Homewood Gallery, North Minneapolis, inkjet print, March
· Eyes Should be Washed, Pirsig Projects, Biennial Biennally, S. Minneapolis, drawing, Feb-March
· Come Home Safely, Installation, Minnesota History Center, October - November
· Art Is My Weapon, Gamut Gallery, inkjet print, October
· Solo: Tell and Retell/ Contar y Recontar, Electric Machete, Saint Paul, April 9-30
· WARHOL: Minnesota Goes Pop, Rochester Center Arts, Rochester, February 4-May 15
· Latino Art Migration, Concordia Art Center, Concordia University, St. Paul, February 2-24
· Selected Works, Public Functionary, Minneapolis, December 1-30, 2016
· Two-Person exhibition, The House on Mango Street, Park Square Theatre, Oct 11–Nov 4
· Art of Darkness: Inspired by the Paranormal, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, July-August
· Solo: Reconfiguring Casta, Installation, Christiansen Gallery, Augsburg College, February-March
· Fabulista, Grupo Soap del Corazon, Drawings, California Building, Minneapolis, December
· Spirit Room Winter Carnival, Paintings, Spirit Room Galleries, Fargo, North Dakota, February
· Solo: Americo: Celebrating the Spirits, Installation, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, November
· Solo: Urban Legends, Woodblock & linoleum prints, Fox Egg Gallery, Minneapolis, July
· The Enduring Spirit of Labor, Print, Quarter Gallery, Regis Center for Art, U of MN, April-May
· 2014 Deviant Art: Dispelling Myths, Prints, Northrup King Building, Gallery 332, Mpls, April
· Prints on Ice 2013, Print, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Mpls, December 2013–January
· Print Exhibition Curated by Ruthann Godollei, 6 Prints, 801 Gallery, Minneapolis, February-May
· Sixth Annual North of the 45th Parallel Juried Exhibition, Steamroller Print, DEVO Gallery, The School of Art and Design, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, Print, June-Aug
· Public Art Commission, Hagfors Center, Augsburg University, 6 woodblock prints (20” X 24” each), Permanent 2018
· Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN, 8 screen prints, Purchased 2017
· Plains Museum, Fargo, ND, 8’ X 4’ Steamroller print, Purchased 2009
· Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN, 8’ X 4’ Steamroller print, Purchased 2007
M.P.A. Leadership in the Arts, Minor Equivalent: Art History, (University of Minnesota, 2008)
B.A. Spanish & B.A. Latin American Studies, (University of Minnesota, 1990)
2005 Archibald Bush Foundation ($100,000), Leadership fellowship in the arts, Minneapolis, MN.
2006 Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP). Washington, DC. Fellowship, Selected nationally as a scholar on the interpretation & representation of Latino arts & culture.
AWARDS / GRANTS
2016 Artist Initiative Grant ($10,000), Minneapolis, MN. Funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board to professional artists for artistic achievement and project development.
2014 Next Step grant ($5,000), Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), Minneapolis, MN. Funded by McKnight Foundation for professional artists’ career development & achievement.
91º Jornada Informativa del IME: Promotores Culturales, Funded by Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CONACULTA) to strengthen the promotion and diffusion of arts and culture programming by nationals who live in the United States. Selected nationally, March 14 -17, 2012
Top 30 Latino Leaders in Minnesota Oral History Project / Lideres Latinos Oral History Project, Minnesota Historical Society, January 8, 2011 mnhs.org/library/findaids/oh135.xml
Latino Arts : A Community Vision, Channel TPT, Interview, 2010
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) grant, Latinos en Acción, 2007-2008
Cultural Community Partnership grant, Minnesota State Arts Board, Artist recipient, February 2007
The Feminist Future: Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts Symposium, Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA), New York City, Scholarship recipient selected internationally, January 2007
· Curator, Sus Voces: Women Printmakers from Mexico, Highpoint Center for the Arts, Minneapolis, February 5, 2016 - March 27, 2016
· Curator, American Art: It's Complicated, Minnesota Museum of American Art, November 5, 2015 - January 3, 2016. Curated with Seitu Jones, Oskar Ly, Dyani White Hawk Polk & Kristin Makholm.
· Exhibition Co-Coordinator, Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takover, over 20 exhibitions of underrepresented artists between January 19-March 26, 2016.
· Exhibition Coordinator, “New World/Old World” 2010 Mid America Print Conference (MAPC),
University of Minnesota and numerous exhibitions throughout the Twin Cities, 2008-2010
· Co-Curator, TRIUMPH a monumental woodcut & REVOLUTION linocuts of the Mexican revolution: Artemio Rodriguez, Gallery Director Gregory Fitz, Macalester College, 2010
· Frida Kahlo Researcher, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, September 2006- October 2007
· Curatorial Panelist, Minnesota Artist Exhibition Panel (MAEP), Selected 10 exhibitions, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2005-2007
· Intern, Patricia Correia Gallery, GRONK: The Ainadamar Opera Paintings, Los Angeles, CA, 2006
· Community Programming, Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2, 2004-January 9, 2005
GALLERY DIRECTOR 2003-2005
Artistic Director and Founder, MIRA GALLERY, Instituto de Cultura y Educación, 2003-2005. Required to leave position to complete the Bush Leadership Fellowship. Funded by the McKnight Foundation. Founded Mira Gallery (“to look” in Spanish). Formulated mission statement, goals, and plan. Responsible for grant writing, fundraising, and publicity.
· Curated and organized 10 exhibitions, a film festival and theatre piece in two years.
· Organized MiraMEX, a Latino film festival with emerging artists from Los Angeles & Minneapolis
• Diálogo: An Interdisciplinary Studies Journal, 21:1 issue, University of Texas Press, April 2018
• Eyes Should be Washed, Collection of works, Joan Aldous Innovation Fund, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2017
• “Frida Kahlo”, Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (AKL), ed. by Bénédicte Savoy, Andreas Beyer and Wolf Tegethoff, DE GRUYTER, Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 1, 80807 München, Germany, April 2013
• “The Future Belongs to Those Who Draw from the Past,” Essay on Mexican Print Artists in the MIA collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2012.
• “Frida Kahlo: Bibliography and Exhibition History”, Exhibition catalog, Walker Art Center, 2007
• Mexican Pulp Art, Feral House Publishing, Los Angeles, CA, 2007.
• “Borders, Boundaries, Margins, Confines & Limits,” Colors, Author, Volume 6, Issue 3, 1997
· Panelist, Espejos y Reflejos (Mirrored Reflections), Third Place Gallery, April 2018
· Panelist, Art is my Weapon, Nobel Peace Prize Forum, October 2017
· Panelist, Utopian World-Making: Art, Social Justice, and Communities of Color Symposium, InFlux Auditorium, Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota, April 28-29, 2017
· Panelist, American Art: It’s Complicated, Minnesota Museum of American Art, November 2015
· Panelist, Paradigms & Priorities –What does the Field Need?, Hand and Glove conference, Common Field, Soap Factory, 2015
· Artist Talk, “Feminism and the Artistic Practice,” Minneapolis College of Art & Design, March 2014
· Lecture, “Plaza Centenario & the importance of Emiliano Zapata,” Minneapolis, September 2013
· Lecture, “Mexican Culture Impacting Community Engagement,” Rochester Art Center, August 2012
· Lecture, “Estudios Familiares”, co-facilitator, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, October 20- 21, 2012
· Lecture, “Design to Build Participation: Latino Art in Minnesota,” Carleton College Art Gallery with the exhibit Latin American Posters: Public Aesthetics and Mass Politics, January 2010
· Panelist, “WAM Chatter: What's Love Got to Do with It?” Weisman Art Museum with exhibition To Have It About You: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection, November 2009
· “The Exploratory Nature of Rufino Tamayo and the Fruits of His Labor,” Paper Presentation, Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, July 2009. In coordination with the exhibit, The Graphic Art of Maestro Rufino Tamayo / Obra Gráfica del Maestro Rufino Tamayo exhibit.
References and art samples available upon request.