For almost 25 years, South Texas businessman Joe A. Diaz has collected contemporary art created by American artists with roots in Hispanic culture. This exhibition brought together more than 100 paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures that are primarily narrative in content and address a wide range of political, social, and autobiographical issues.
Collecting art is a passion for Joe Diaz. He doesn’t buy just one painting or photo that he likes – he buys five or six of them at a time. His collection reflects this passion for art. Diaz began buying in the late 1980’s under the influence of a friend, a Hispanic artist who introduced him to his artist friends. Mr. Diaz immersed himself in the art world, began attending museum openings, meeting artists on his own. And he began to buy art. Diaz has become so well known in San Antonio that certain artists have become good personal friends. Diaz’s collection has grown in both quantity and quality, and is a broad survey of Hispanic art including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and drawing. His home is a showcase for the collection, with walls hung salon-style to maximize the exposure of art. Paintings hang in hallways, upstairs bedrooms, and stairwells, with artwork stored in closets and under beds. Diaz has recently begun a business endeavor in Corpus Christi, and has moved some of his collection here. This exhibition provides a broad survey of contemporary Hispanic art in Texas. Some of the artists included in the collection include Chuck Ramirez, John Hernandez, John Walsh, Michael Tracy, Mel Chin, Kathy Vargas, and Luis Jimenez. ¡Arte Caliente! was organized by the South Texas Institute for the Arts (Art Museum of South Texas).