40 Years of Día de los Muertos

Sep. 22, 2023

Sep. 22, 2023 @ 5:00 pm Jan. 7, 2024 @ 5:00 pm

Mexic-Arte Museum

419 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701 United States
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(512) 480-9373

About 40 Years of Día de los Muertos

September 22, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a union of Indigenous and Catholic practices is an observance and embrace of the cycle of life and death. It has transformed and expanded to include unique festivities, commemorating family and friends, while also celebrating Mexican and Mexican American culture.

For two generations Mexic-Arte Museum has created a uniquely Austin style Día de los Muertos celebration filled with exhibitions, performances, street festivals, videos, murals, installations, processions, publications, and other cultural manifestations. 40 Years of Día de los Muertos: Tradition, Celebration & Continuation marks Mexic-Arte Museum’s past and present formation of Día de los Muertos and its place in Central Texas. This exhibition presents Mexic-Arte Museum’s distinct Día de los Muertos history with decades of artwork and archives that have been produced and collected since the museum’s beginnings in 1984.

The exhibition begins with photographs and ephemera of Mexic-Arte Museum’s Día de los Muertos history — showing tradition and transformation since Mexic-Arte’s inaugural year. Photographs by Mary J. Andrade document various Días de los Muertos customs in Mexico. A commissioned Indigenous inspired tlalmanalli ofrenda by Laura Ríos-Ramirez and a Catholic baroque altar style ofrenda, typical of the Mexican state of Puebla, by Emmily Arenas and family are on exhibition as well. Calaveras (Skulls) and Catrinas, Día de los Muertos icons, are represented in the artworks of José Guadalupe Posada and contemporary Latinx artists. An homage to twelve deceased artists intimately tied to Mexic-Arte’s history have artwork (many from the Mexic-Arte permanent collection) framing the back gallery. This showing has inspired the reverential installation by Connie Arismendi, “Soy el Poema de la Tierra / I am the Poem of Earth.” Finally, 40 Years of Día de los Muertos presents continued museum engagement with Austin — a community ofrenda for visitors to bring memorials of deceased loved ones is available, an outdoor mural by Mauro de la Tierra, painted for this exhibition, is on the 5th Street Mero Muro wall, and an ofrenda recognizing the contribution of the Austin lowrider community is showcased. 

For forty years Mexic-Arte Museum has collaborated with Austin to create unique Día de los Muertos traditions and celebrations including thousands of people. 40 Years of Día de los Muertos will be on display from Friday, September 22, 2023 until January 7, 2024. Join us as we celebrate the first 40 years of Mexic-Arte Museum’s Día de los Muertos!


Opening Reception and Installation Images

A couple enjoy the ephemera of Mexic-Arte Museum’s first 40 years. Photo Credit: Maia Castillo