Topics: College of Fine Arts, Arts and Culture

January 27, 2020

Rivera painting of girl holding flowers

Diego Rivera, Mexican (1866–1957), Girl with Flowers (Niña con flores), 1954, watercolor on rice paper, Collection of Dr. Zapanta. © 2019 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artist Rights Society

The David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA) at Ball State University will host “Mexican Modernity: 20th-Century Paintings from the Zapanta Collection,” highlighting some of the most significant modern Mexican artists, from January 30 to May 3.

Organized chronologically, the exhibition includes Early Masters, Mexican Muralists, Second-Generation Muralists, Introspective artists, the Rupture generation, and the Oaxacan Movement — all groups that represent dynamic moments in the evolution of 20th-century Mexican art. The exhibition was organized by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and Dr. Richard Zapanta, from the collection of Dr. Zapanta. It will subsequently travel to the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“We are excited to see ‘Mexican Modernity’ presented at another academic institution,” says Dr. Gisela Carbonell, curator at CFAM. “DOMA, like CFAM, is an ideal context to present the exhibition and engage in multidisciplinary conversations that further understanding of the works in their historical context. We are confident the students and faculty as well as the greater Muncie community will enjoy engaging with works by some of the most significant artists who worked in Mexico in the 20th century.”

The Zapanta Collection, amassed over more than 25 years, includes works by several generations of modern Mexican artists and provides an overview of important artistic styles and an in-depth consideration of poignant themes, political events, and social narratives that informed their creative output. Dr. Richard Zapanta was a fourth-generation Mexican American whose collecting was a way to reconnect with his cultural roots. Dr. Zapanta and his wife, Rebecca, established close friendships with many of the artists whose works they collected, such as Rodolfo Morales and Raúl Anguiano, often inviting them to their home in California and spending time with them in Mexico.

The personal connection between collectors and artists, in addition to the historical and contextual narrative threads that link the works, position this exhibition as an opportunity to consider important events that shaped Mexican modernity. The impetus behind the project is the collectors' interest in making this remarkable collection of Mexican art accessible to institutions whose holdings may be limited in this area. The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual illustrated catalog.

“The impressive Zapanta Collection includes a wide range of artists whose work illustrates the richness and significance of Mexican art and culture in the 20th century,” said Dr. Robert G. La France, director of the Owsley Museum. “We are happy not only to bring this exhibition to East Central Indiana but also to take this opportunity to create an additional display of Mexican art collected by the Ball family, works of art in our collection that connect Muncie to the Mexican town of Taxco, and a loan of vintage photographs of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.” The accompanying exhibition, “Mexican Modernity: IMPACT,” is on view from January 30 to May 17.

Note to editors: The David Owsley Museum of Art and Cornell Fine Arts Museum grant permission to use the “Mexican Modernity” images for the timely publication of the exhibition under the following conditions:

  • The artwork will not be cropped, detailed, overprinted, or altered.
  • Each work will be fully credited with the captions provided in the PDF also in the folder.

Public Program Highlights

DOMA is open seven days a week, and admission is always free. See for hours, exhibitions, and other programs events for children and adults. Upcoming public programs related to this exhibition include:

February 9, 2:30 p.m.: Join Dr. Michelle Duran, assistant professor of art, Ball State University School of Art, for a tour based on her research on modern Mexican painting and popular arts.

February 22, 2:30 p.m.: Join a docent-led tour of “Mexican Modernity” (in Spanish and English).

March 12, 6 p.m.: Dr. Gregorio Luke, an expert on Mexican and Latin American art and culture and the author of the exhibition catalogue, will give a lecture on “Mexican Modernity.”

March 27 and April 24, from 6-9 p.m.: Enjoy Final Fridays at DOMA—free programs with refreshments, demonstrations, PechaKucha talks, and a chance to view the exhibition during extended hours. 

April 17, 6 p.m.: Enjoy an interactive performance that explores Frida Kahlo’s work through the eyes of contemporary theater artists Veronica Santoyo and David Little, assistant teaching professors, Ball State University Department of Theatre and Dance.

April 25, 2:30 p.m.: Join a docent-led tour of “Mexican Modernity” (in English).

Exhibition Support

This special exhibition was brought to Ball State University by support from John R. Emens Distinguished Professorship Fund and the Friends of the David Owsley Museum of Art.

About the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College features rotating exhibitions, ongoing programs, and an extensive permanent collection that spans centuries, from examples of ancient art and artifacts to contemporary art. Open to the public year-round, its holdings include the only European Old Master paintings in the Orlando area, a sizeable American art collection, and a forward-thinking contemporary collection on view both at the Museum and The Alfond Inn at Rollins. In 1981, the Museum became Florida’s first college museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums (currently the American Alliance of Museums) and continues in 2018 as one of only four AAM-accredited museums in greater Orlando. Website:

About the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University

2021 W. Riverside Avenue, Muncie, Indiana

Free and open to the public, the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University houses a world art collection with over 11,000 works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Europe, and the Americas. DOMA cultivates lifelong learning and recreation in the visual arts through exciting interdisciplinary art exhibitions with engaging displays of the permanent collection in an educational environment that serves both the University and the East Central Indiana region. Website:

Visitor hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Free tours are available for groups. Parking is available at the McKinley Parking Garage and MITS bus stops are nearby. DOMA is in the Fine Arts Building on the northern side of Ball State University’s Quad. For more information, call the museum at 765-285-5242 or email

About Ball State University

Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State University is one of Indiana’s premier universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s 22,500 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world. The 790-acre campus is large enough to accommodate first-rate facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports, but our welcoming and inclusive campus is small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the University. Destination 2040: Our Flight Path establishes Ball State’s ambitious goals for our second century. We Fly!