Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Sonia Sotomayor, 2010.
Houston art dealer and collector Hiram Butler will donate a suite of 31 large-scale portraits of Latinx Americans photographed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders to the San Antonio Museum of Art. The gift will go on view at the museum in October in an exhibition titled “The Latino List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.”
The photographs, which measure close to 5 feet by 4 feet, relate to The Latino List, a documentary directed by Greenfield-Sanders that originally aired as a documentary on HBO featuring interviews with 15 Latinx celebrities conducted by NPR’s Maria Hinojosa. Among the subjects of the portraits are the writer Sandra Cisneros, singer Gloria Estefan, actor America Ferrera, labor-rights activist Dolores Huerta, journalist Soledad O’Brien, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Marta Moreno Vega, a former director of El Museo del Barrio and the founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York.
Butler, who grew up in Eagle Pass, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border, about two and a half hours away from San Antonio, said he gave the gift to honor his friendships with Greenfield-Sanders, whom he has known since 1979, and Banks Smith, a trustee of the San Antonio Museum.
Butler also has a connection to the city. “I grew up on the border,” he told ARTnews. “San Antonio was our connection to civilization.” He remembers visiting the museum in its early years in the 1980s to see its encyclopedic holdings, now numbering nearly 30,000 works and objects. “The San Antonio Museum of Art captured my imagination because of its collection of antiquities, which is extraordinary,” he said.
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Sandra Cisneros, 2011.
As San Antonio prepares to celebrate its 300th anniversary next year, the gift will help to enrich the culture of the city, according to the museum’s director, Katherine Crawford Luber. “We represent the rich cultural diversity of the world,” she said. “That’s what attracted Hiram to the museum. Artistic impulses from everyone around the world are reflected and explored.”
She noted that the gift comes at a heated moment in the U.S., with talk of building a wall along the border and anti-Latino rhetoric common in the presidential campaign. She sees the work as a way for the community of San Antonio, which has a Hispanic population of 58 percent, “to see opportunities that are available.”
Butler echoed the sentiment. “The subject matter is important and topical because we have this president who is vilifying Hispanics,” he said. “This series is proof-positive that that man is wrong.”
The full list of portraits follows below.
Henry Cisneros Sandra Cisneros Victor Cruz César Conde Ralph de la Vega Emilio Estefan Gloria Estefan Giselle Fernández America Ferrera Nely Galán José Fernández Dolores Huerta Maria Hinojosa Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch George Lopez John Leguizamo Eva Longoria Robert Menéndez Janet Murguía Pitbull Judy Reyes Chi Chi Rodríguez Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo Jon Seda Soledad O’Brien Anthony D. Romero Sonia Sotomayor Julie Stav Christy Turlington Burns Dr. Marta Moreno Vega Raúl Yzaguirre