San Antonio Museum of Art presents 'Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: The Goddess Triptych' reunited focus exhibition

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San Antonio Museum of Art presents 'Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: The Goddess Triptych' reunited focus exhibition
Female Figure, Halaf, ca. 6000-5000 B.C. Fired and painted clay h. 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm); w. 2 in. (5.1 cm); d. 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm) San Antonio Museum of Art, Gift of Frances and Frederick Wilkins, 99.5.28.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- This year, SAMA honors the legacy of Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz (born San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1955–died San Antonio, Texas, 2023) and celebrates the acquisition of Yemayá, the central painting of the artist’s Goddess Triptych. The other portraits, The Myth of Venus and La Primavera, entered the collection in 2013 as gifts from renowned author Sandra Cisneros, making this reunion a decade in the making.

Curated by Lana Meador, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: The Goddess Triptych Reunited, is on view in the Steves Gallery at SAMA through January 26, 2025.

"We are thrilled to pay homage to Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz's enduring legacy and to celebrate the acquisition of the third and central painting of his remarkable Goddess Triptych,” said Emily Ballew Neff, PhD, The Kelso Director at SAMA.

Rodríguez-Díaz is recognized nationally for his distinct approach to portraiture. He studied art at the University of Puerto Rico, then moved to New York City in 1978 and received an MFA degree from Hunter College before settling in San Antonio in 1994. Influenced by his background as a gay Latino of African, Taíno, and Spanish descent, Rodríguez-Díaz employed portraiture to celebrate cultural diversity. His powerful Goddess Triptych features nude women of color who do not conform to the idealized body type prevalent throughout Western art history and is exemplary of Rodríguez-Díaz’s reframing of art historical precedents to empower his subjects.

“We are honored to have Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz’s monumental Goddess Triptych in the SAMA collection and this presentation celebrates his artwork’s significant impact,” said Lana Meador, Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. “His contemporary portraits are pioneering while also revealing deep connections to the past. His bold re-envisioning of goddess imagery is complex, layered, and inspiring.”

Also on view are female figures from SAMA’s Ancient Mediterranean collection and a video by Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta on loan from Art Bridges (through June 30) to contextualize Rodríguez-Díaz’s representation of the body. Modern interpretations of these figures as goddess-like entities and their ongoing influence on art reveals attitudes towards gender, race, and beauty. Whether venerated by ancient cultures, idealized by European artists, or reclaimed by feminists, Rodríguez-Díaz’s Goddess Triptych is in dialogue with images of the female form across time, culture, and geography. His portraits present strong, heroic women who assert their rightful place in the history of art.

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, the San Antonio Museum of Art is presenting three free special programs in partnership with the Guadalupe Dance Company and the Carver Community Cultural Center.

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