The University of Minnesota celebrates Mexican-American art in the best way possible: by making a catalog of nearly 20,000 pieces of art and visual culture available to all.
The project entitled “Rhizomes of Mexican-American Art Since 1848” was launched in collaboration with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and consists of an open-source online portal that condenses a catalog fed by libraries, archives, and museums.
As explained by the Star Tribune, the project is the product of the work of six academics, curators, and archivists, who were able to create a digital curation of art made since the U.S.-Mexico War and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
— Rhizomes of Mexican American Art since 1848 (@rhizomes1848) September 30, 2021
The project was structured around the philosophical concept of the rhizome developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, which is inspired by the botanical term and creates a model of knowledge characterized by multiplicity. The rhizome is related to a map that must be constructed, always dismountable, and alterable.
The open-source portal allows users to suggest tags, just as in social networks, that improve the likelihood of discovering objects, the Star Tribune continued.
The first version of the project, already online, collects what is available at the Digital Public Library of America, the Portal to Texas History, the digital libraries of the University of California, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the International Center for Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.