Binh Danh, El Capitan, Yosemite, CA, June 7, 2012, Daguerreotype, Unique (in camera exposure), Plate: 8.5 x 6.5 inches, Frame: 13 x 11.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery, San Francisco

Where the Heart Is: Contemporary Art by Immigrant Artists

Exhibition Dates: February 2-April 3, 2021

“I am from there. I am from here. I am not there and I am not here. I have two names, which meet and part, and I have two languages. I forget which of them I dream in.”

―Mahmoud Darwish

This exhibition will feature artists who have immigrated to the United States and whose experiences are reflected in their art practice. There are more foreign-born residents in Santa Clara County (of which Palo Alto is a part) than in any other county in California, about 38% of the population. In a state that has more immigrants than any other (in fact, half of California children have at least one immigrant parent) and a country than has a larger immigrant population than any other in the world, this is a truly meaningful statistic and one we choose not to ignore.

For those of us who have never known what it feels like to be treated as an “other,” the artists in this exhibition have done us a great service. By examining and expressing their experiences, they help us to be more compassionate, more knowledgeable citizens. In the midst of the confusion and outrage permeating immigration policy today, one thing is abundantly clear: these artists have a tremendous amount to add to the cultural and artistic prosperity of our nation.

Sanctuary Print Project

The exhibition will also feature the Sanctuary Print Project, a participatory mobile printmaking studio which offers printmaking experiences for the public. This project has been committed to sharing and archiving the stories of community members and addresses the complexity of the immigrant experience. Why did you come here? When did you forget you were an immigrant? A sanctuary is not a quiet place. Artists Sergio de la Torre and Chris Treggiari will be working to document and share how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the immigrant population, providing opportunities for dialogue around sanctuary cities, immigration, and public health.



The Black Index

Exhibition Dates: May 1-August 22, 2021

The Palo Alto Art Center is pleased to present The Black Index, a group exhibition featuring the work of Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas.

The artists featured in The Black Index build upon the tradition of Black self representation as an antidote to colonialist images. Using drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology to transform the recorded image, these artists question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding. Their works offer an alternative practice—a Black index—that still serves as a finding aid for information about Black subjects, but also challenges viewers’ desire for classification.

The works in The Black Index make viewers aware of their own expectations of Black figuration by interrupting traditional epistemologies of portraiture through unexpected and unconventional depictions. These works image the Black body through a conceptual lens that acknowledges the legacy of Black containment that is always present in viewing strategies. The approaches used by Delgado, Henry, Hinkle, Kaphar, Lovell, and Thomas suggest understandings of Blackness and the racial terms of our neo-liberal condition that counter legal and popular interpretations and, in turn, offer a paradigmatic shift within Black visual culture.

The Black Index is curated by Bridget R. Cooks, Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies and the Department of Art History, University of California, Irvine. Exhibition and tour organized by Sarah Watson, Chief Curator, Hunter College Art Galleries, New York in collaboration with the University Art Galleries at UC Irvine, Palo Alto Art Center, and Art Galleries at Black Studies, University of Texas at Austin.

Lead support for The Black Index is provided by The Ford Foundation with additional support by UCI Confronting Extremism Program, Getty Research Institute, Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, Carol and Arthur Goldberg, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Leubsdorf Fund at Hunter College, Joan Lazarus Fellowship program at Hunter College, Pamela and David Hornik, Loren and Mike Gordon, University of California Office of the President Multi-campus Research Programs and Initiative Funding, University of California Humanities Research Institute, Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts and Culture Initiative, UCI Humanities Center, Department of African American Studies, Department of Art History, The Reparations Project, and the UC Irvine Black Alumni Chapter. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit calhum.org.


To learn more about our upcoming exhibitions, view our Advance Exhibition Schedule.