In 2001, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), established the Latin American Art Department and its research arm, the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA). Since its founding, the mission of the ICAA has been to collect, exhibit, research, and educate audiences about the diverse artistic production of Latin American and Latinx communities, including artists from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and artists of Latin American descent living and working in the United States. By establishing the center, the museum sought to bring about a long-term transformation in the appreciation and understanding of Latin American and Latinx visual arts in the United States and abroad.
In the last decade, the ICAA has organized research-based exhibitions, pursued a dynamic publications program, and developed research and education projects that complement the MFAH’s renowned collection of Latin American art. The ICAA has organized international symposia, published its proceedings in bilingual format, and developed widely acclaimed exhibitions, such as Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America (2004), Hélio Oiticica: The Body of Color (2006), Carlos Cruz-Diez: Color in Space and Time (2011), and Contesting Modernity: Informalism in Venezuela, 1955–1975 (2018–19), among others. The ICAA was initiated by the late Peter C. Marzio, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from 1982 to 2010. It is headed by Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art at the MFAH and founding director of the ICAA. María Gaztambide served as associate director from 2009–18. Arden Decker is the current associate director of the ICAA. Héctor Olea, a founding member of the ICAA, has been the editor since the Documents Project was launched.