[dropcap sid=”dropcap-1446585320″]W[/dropcap]hen Aldemaro Romero Jr. and his wife, Ana, bought a Guatemalan chest in Costa Rica in 1981, the couple little suspected that they had begun a decadeslong odyssey of collecting the works of Latin American and Caribbean self-taught artists.
This spring Baruch College’s Sidney Mishkin Gallery shared 40 treasures from the Aldemaro and Ana Romero Collection in the exhibition Self-Taught Art from Latin America and the Caribbean, which ran from April through May. Dr. Aldemaro Romero Jr. and Ana Romero are members of the Baruch faculty: He is dean of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences; she, an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature.
The exhibition featured paintings, sculptures, and crafts using a variety of media, including oil paint on canvas, lithography, papier-mâché, bark, and wood. The
exhibition was organized by country of origin, with eight countries represented.
Brilliant, saturated colors; simplicity; repetition; and a flattened perspective are the hallmarks of the collection, common characteristics of self-taught art, which curator and Gallery Director Sandra Kraskin, PhD, is quick to distinguish from folk art. “Self-taught art has a universal quality without a clear cultural context, and it is often
difficult to guess which country it is from,” she explains.
For Dean Romero, his fondest memories of the collection involve meeting the artists, “hearing how they were inspired and what their
vision was.” What does the dean hope gallerygoers experienced? “The artists’ authenticity
and the tremendous level of creativity they have, despite having never received formal
training,” he says.
Supported by the Schindler-Lizana Fund for Latin American Arts & Cultures at Baruch, this show offered an outstanding example of
the small, museum-quality exhibitions for which the Mishkin Gallery is known.