Rescuing the Stories Behind Latino Art

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Some of art history’s most telling monuments don’t end up under museum spotlights. They’re found, when and if they’re found, in desk drawers and office file cabinets that no one has cracked in years, or in library stacks, or in jumbles of personal papers boxed up in an artist’s studio.

They include letters, doodles, lecture notes, essays, newspaper clips, exhibition posters, out-of-print journals and handwritten manifestos — physically vulnerable scraps and sheets that encapsulate the thinking of entire cultural eras but were never meant to last much beyond the time they first appeared.

The loss of such information-rich material is a chronic danger in any field, but especially so in the case of understudied art, which often means art originating in places short on archival facilities. Latin American art, until fairly recently marginalized by mainstream history, has long been in that high-risk category....

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