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Woman with a Bird Cage

Woman with a Bird Cage

Rufino Tamayo

An item at Art Institute of Chicago

Woman with a Bird Cage combines Rufino Tamayo's deep appreciation of ancient Mesoamerican art with his interest in Cubism, the 2oth-century abstract art movement created by artists Pablo Picasso and George Braque. The influence of Cubism is apparent in the woman's body, which Tamayo fractured into planes of color. Yet her distinctive elongated ear, large nose, open mouth, and the other aspects of her form reflect the Indigenous artist's study of West Mexican ceramic sculptures (similar examples of which are on view in Gallery 136), which he collected enthusi-astically. The synthesis of the two styles suggests his desire to introduce personal aspects of his Zapotec identity into modernist painting.

Americas in the Making

An exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago

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These galleries present dynamic and wide-ranging art forms made in the Americas, where artists have been at work since time immemorial. The region now known as Chicago has long been a vibrant center of Native artistic practices, including those of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations. European settler colonialism and the development of the metropolis-including our museum's founding in 1879-introduced global art forms. Together, these local histories shape the collections we steward today, which encompass diverse makers, objects, and styles spanning centuries and continents, from North to South America and the Caribbean. The works here offer layered stories of the Americas in the making. Created for a variety of purposes-from aesthetic to ceremonial to practical —they have the power to evoke a range of emotions and responses. Complex factors impacted their making, including displacement and immigration, enslavement, global trade, and indus-trialization. As a result, they offer insights across eras while inviting reinterpretation in our moment. Just as artistic traditions are continually made and remade, so, too, are our efforts to present them. Today you can find selections of the many histories of art in the Americas on this floor and the floor above, in tandem with Gallery 136, a dedicated space for celebrating Indigenous art.