"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New and Recent Chican@ and Latino@ Art Books

New and Recent Art Books

Today the Easter Bunny delivers new and recent art books. By recent, we mean in Chicano Standard Time, not Anglo Savings Time. Questions, what did Europeans use to make Chocolate Easter Bunnys before they had chocolate?

Malaquias Montoya
$24.95 paper
ISBN 978-0-89551-107-2
$60.00 cloth/jacket
ISBN 978-0-89551-106-5
University of Minnesota Press
Terezita Romo
The first major book on the influential Chicano painter and printmaker

Working for more than four decades in a variety of media, from drawings and paintings to murals and the silkscreen prints for which he is best known, Malaquias Montoya has pursued a singular artistic vision that promotes the dignity of labor, exposes assaults on human rights, and provokes resistance in the face of injustice.
Montoya cofounded the influential Chicano artist collective known as the Mexican-American Liberation Art Front in 1968, inspiring a generation of artists and activists and continuing to do so today through his teaching and by widely exhibiting his overtly political and visually arresting works.


The University of Minnesota Press
(95 color photos ISBN: 978-0-89551-105-8 | hardcover (comes with DVD about the artist)(also in paperback), A Ver Series.
Max Benevidez

The first major book devoted to the influential Chicano artist.

This is the first major book devoted to the influential Chicano artist.

Gronk was born in 1954 in East Los Angeles. He began his career as an urban muralist and has grown into an international figure who has created sets for operas and computerized animation for panoramic screens. In this sweeping examination of Gronk’s oeuvre, Max Benavidez elucidates how the artist can cross genres, sexual categories, and ethnic barriers, yet still remain true to himself. From street murals to mail art, from large-scale action painting to performance art and operatic set design, Gronk has made a lasting mark on the Chicano art movement, the punk scene, gay art, and the cultural world stage.

“There is no question that underrepresented artists like Gronk are a vital part of 21st century art history.” —Los Angeles Times

“Benavidez offers a riveting, clear-eyed and contextualized midcareer examination of Gronk’s development not only as an artist but also as a person.” —El Paso Times

For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book’s webpage:

For more information on the A Ver Series:

Chicano Graffiti and Murals: The Neighborhood Art of Peter Quezada
(Folk Art and Artists Series) Paperback
University Press of Mississippi (December 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 161703066X
ISBN-13: 978-1617030666
Sojin Kim

A study of an artist and his art that proliferates over north Los Angeles

Avant-Garde Art and Artists in Mexico: Anita Brenner's Journals of the Roaring Twenties 
 (Univ of Texas Press Oct 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 0292721846), 
Susannah Joel Glusker (Editor), Carlos Monsiváis (Foreword). 

The Mexican Revolution or that violent, inchoate, never-quite-complete break with the pastoopened a new era in Mexican art and letters now known as the "Mexican Renaissance." In Mexico City, a coterie of artists including Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco & David Alfaro Siqueiros explored how art could forward revolutionary ideals and, in the process, spent countless hours talking, gossiping, arguing & partying. 

Into this milieu came Anita Brenner, in her early twenties already trying her hand as a journalist, art critic and; anthropologist. Her journals of the period 1925 to 1930 vividly transport us to this vital moment in Mexico, when building a "new nation" was the goal. Brenner became a member of Rivera's inner circle & her journals provide fascinating portraits of its members, including Orozco, Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo & Jean Charlot, with whom she had an unusual loving relationship. 

She captures the major and minor players in the act of creating works for which they are now famous and records their comings and goings, alliances and feuds. Numerous images of their art brilliantly counterpoint her diary descriptions. Setting the scene for the journal is well-known Mexican cultural critic Carlos Monsiváis, who offers an illuminating discussion of the Mexican Renaissance and the circle around Diego Rivera.

Mexican Modernity: The Avant-Garde and the Technological Revolution
Paperback- The MIT Press (October 31, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0262514966
Rubén Gallo 

In Mexican Modernity, Ruben Gallo tells the story of a second Mexican Revolution, a battle fought on the front of cultural representation. The new revolutionaries were not rebels or outlaws but artists and writers; their weapons were cameras, typewriters, radios, and other technological artifacts, and their goal was not to topple a dictator but to dethrone nineteenth-century aesthetics. 

Gallo tells the story of this other revolution by focusing on five artifacts that left a deep mark on the literature and the arts of the 1920s and 1930s: the camera and its novel techniques for seeing the modern world; the typewriter and its mechanization of literary aesthetics; radio and poetic experiments with wireless communication; cement architecture and its celebration of functional internationalism; and the stadium and its deployment as a mass medium for political spectacle.

Gallo traces the ways artists and writers, armed with these artifacts, revolutionized representation by breaking with the traditional modes of production that had dominated Mexican cultural practices: Tina Modotti rose against the conventions of "artistic" photography by promoting a radically modern photographic aesthetics; typewriting authors rejected the literary precepts of modernismo to celebrate the stridencies of mechanical writing; and young architects abandoned older building materials for the symbolic strength of reinforced concrete.

Gallo uncovers a secret history of Mexican modernity that includes a number of fascinating episodes: the pictorialist backlash against Modotti and Edward Weston; the postcolonial Remingtont typewriter; Mexican radio in the North Pole; the campaign to aestheticize cement through journals and artistic competitions; and the protofascist political spectacles held at Mexico City's National Stadium in the

Textura Dos: Buenos Aires Street Art
Hardcover Mark Batty Publisher October 26, 2010
ISBN-10: 1935613030
Guilherme Zauith (Author), Matt Fox-Tucker (Author)

Buenos Aires is the second largest city in South America. It should come as no surprise then that it boasts a sprawling and distinctive street art scene that reflects the civic pride of the porteños - the word used to refer to the city's citizens - as well as the influences of global graffiti, street art and visual cultures.  

Textura Dos: Buenos Aires Street Art breaks the city down into neighborhoods, or barrios, providing a stunning visual tour of the city. The authors recount their experiences exploring the featured barrios, meeting the artists and photographing their work. In revealing these visual aspects of Buenos Aires the authors also share their views of Buenos Aires, one of the world's great cities. From the murals of Palermo and San Telmo to the tags, burners and politically charged work of La Boca, the richness of the city's urban art takes shape between the covers of this book.

Like the original Textura,Textura Dos also makes available to readers via download files of high-resolution graffiti patterns and textures that can be used for any number of design applications.

Our Lady of Controversy: Alma López's "Irreverent Apparition" 
Chicana Matters Series Paperback
University of Texas Press (April 1, 2011) 
ISBN-10: 0292726422 ISBN-13: 978-0292726420
Alicia Gaspar de Alba (Editor), Alma López (Editor) 

Months before Alma López's digital collage Our Lady was shown at the Museum of International Folk Art in 2001, the museum began receiving angry phone calls from community activists and Catholic leaders who demanded that the image not be displayed. 

Protest rallies, prayer vigils, and death threats ensued, but the provocative image of la Virgen de Guadalupe (hands on hips, clad only in roses, and exalted by a bare-breasted butterfly angel) remained on exhibition.

Highlighting many of the pivotal questions that have haunted the art world since the NEA debacle of 1988, the contributors to Our Lady of Controversy present diverse perspectives, ranging from definitions of art to the artist's intention, feminism, queer theory, colonialism, and Chicano nationalism. Contributors include the exhibition curator, Tey Marianna Nunn; award-winning novelist and Chicana historian Emma Pérez; and Deena González (recognized as one of the fifty most important living women historians in America).

Accompanied by a bonus DVD of Alma López's I Love Lupe video that looks at the Chicana artistic tradition of reimagining la Virgen de Guadalupe, featuring a historic conversation between Yolanda López, Ester Hernández, and Alma López, Our Lady of Controversy promises to ignite important new dialogues.

Carmen Lomas Garza
University of Minnesota Press 2010
ISBN 978-0-89551-125-6 | paper
ISBN 978-0-89551-124-9 | cloth
Constance Cortez

Explores the art of the celebrated Chicana artist who depicts her childhood in the Mexican American community of South Texas

Widely known for works celebrating the traditions of her family and community, Carmen Lomas Garza has been a painter, printmaker, muralist, and children's book illustrator since the 1970s. In this volume of the pathbreaking A Ver series, Constance Cortez explores Garza's artwork in the context of the Chicano/a art movement, family and regional traditions, and Garza's own political and social activism.

"I saw the need to create images that would elicit recognition and appreciation among Mexican Americans, both adults and children, while at the same time serve as a source of education for others not familiar with our culture."
-Carmen Lomas Garza

Celia Alvarez Munoz (A Ver)
Paperback Chicano Studies Research Center (October 22, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0895511126 ISBN-13: 978-0895511126
Roberto Tejada
Roberto Tejada (Author)
A conceptual and multimedia artist known for her writing, photography, painting, installation, and public art, Celia Alvarez Muñoz has been invited to exhibit and to create site-specific works for more than fifty major U.S. museums and was included in the 1991 Whitney Biennial. In her work Muñoz draws on family and communal memories to explore her own experiences growing up Catholic and Mexican American on the Texas-Mexico border, as well as larger issues concerning the spaces between languages and cultures and the histories that connect place to community.
With more than one hundred color photographs, this book in the landmark A Ver series surveys Muñoz's career from her earliest bookmaking project, the Enlightenment series, and such installation pieces as Stories Your Mother Never Told You to her more recent works of public art and digital photography. Throughout his in-depth essay, Roberto Tejada illuminates Muñoz's feminist perspective, political engagement, and provocative use of ideas and artifacts from two cultures.

Yolanda Lopez (A Ver)
Univ Of Minnesota Press (February 10, 2009) ISBN-10: 089551110X ISBN-13: 978-0895511102
Karen Mary Davalos
“It is important for us to be visually literate; it is a survival skill. The media is what passes for culture in contemporary U.S. culture, and it is extremely powerful. It is crucial that we systematically explore the cultural misdefinition of Mexicans and Latin Americans that is presented in the media.” —Yolanda López

Chicana artist Yolanda López achieved international recognition for her groundbreaking and controversial Virgin of Guadalupe series of paintings (1975–78) in which she transformed the beloved icon in order to celebrate and sanctify ordinary Mexican and Mexican American women as hardworking, assertive, and vibrant. Born in San Diego, California, López formally trained as a painter but has since expanded into a variety of media, including installation, video, and slide presentations.

Karen Mary Davalos identifies the themes and concerns that unify the artist’s diverse body of work. At times playful, political, and feminist, López is unwavering in her commitment to representing the experiences of Mexican American women in the United States, confronting stereotypes about Latin Americans and challenging U.S. immigration policy.

Walls of Empowerment: Chicana/o Indigenist Murals of California
Paperback University of Texas Press (December 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 029271906X ISBN-13: 978-0292719064
Guisela Latorre 

Exploring three major hubs of muralist activity in California, where indigenous imagery is prevalent, Walls of Empowerment celebrates an aesthetic that seeks to firmly establish Chicana/o sociopolitical identity in U.S. territory. 

Providing readers with a history and genealogy of key muralists' productions, Guisela Latorre also showcases new material and original research on works and artists never before examined in print. 

An art form often associated with male creative endeavors, muralism in fact reflects significant contributions by Chicana artists. Encompassing these and other aspects of contemporary dialogues, including the often tense relationship between graffiti and muralism, Walls of Empowerment is a comprehensive study that, unlike many previous endeavors, does not privilege non-public Latina/o art. 

In addition, Latorre introduces readers to the role of new media, including performance, sculpture, and digital technology, in shaping the muralist's "canvas." Drawing on nearly a decade of fieldwork, this timely endeavor highlights the ways in which California's Mexican American communities have used images of indigenous peoples to raise awareness of the region's original citizens. 

Latorre also casts murals as a radical force for decolonization and liberation, and she provides a stirring description of the decades, particularly the late 1960s through 1980s, that saw California's rise as the epicenter of mural production. Blending the perspectives of art history and sociology with firsthand accounts drawn from artists' interviews, Walls of Empowerment represents a crucial turning point in the study of these iconographic artifacts.

Chicana and Chicano Art: ProtestArte 
(Mexican American Experience)
Paperback University of Arizona Press; 1 edition (February 14, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0816526478 ISBN-13: 978-0816526475
Carlos Francisco Jackson

This is the first book solely dedicated to the history, development, and present-day flowering of Chicana and Chicano visual arts. It offers readers an opportunity to understand and appreciate Chicana/o art from its beginnings in the 1960s, its relationship to the Chicana/o Movement and its leading artists, themes, current directions, and cultural impacts.

Although the word "Chicano" once held negative connotations, students -- along with civil rights activists and artists -- adopted it in the late 1960s in order to re-imagine and redefine what it meant to be Mexican American in the United States. Chicanismo is the ideology and spirit behind the Chicano Movement and Chicanismo unites the artists whose work is revealed and celebrated in this book.

Jackson's scope is wide. He includes paintings, prints, murals, altars, sculptures, and photographs--and, of course, the artists who created them. Beginning with key influences, he describes the importance of poster and mural art, focusing on the work of the Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada and the significance of Mexican and Cuban talleres (print workshops). 

He examines the importance of art collectives in the United States, as well as Chicano talleres and community art centers, for the growth of the Chicano art movement. In conclusion, he considers how Chicano art has been presented to the general American public.

As Jackson shows, the visual arts have both reflected and created Chicano culture in the United States. For college students -- and for all readers who want to learn more about this fascinating subject -- his book is an ideal introduction to an art movement with a social conscience.

Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement
[Hardcover] University of California Press; 1 edition (April 2, 2008)
ISBN-10: 9780520255630 ISBN-13: 978-0520255630
Rita Gonzalez (Author), Howard N. Fox (Author), Chon A. Noriega (Author) 

Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement is the first comprehensive consideration of Chicano art in almost two decades and the largest exhibition of cutting-edge Chicano art ever presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

Traditionally described as work created by Americans of Mexican descent, Chicano art first emerged during the vibrant Chicano rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

This catalog and exhibition explore the experimental tendencies within today's Chicano art, which is oriented less toward painting and polemical assertion and more toward conceptual art, performance, film, photography, and media-based art, as well as "stealthy" artistic interventions in urban spaces. 

Three essays by Rita Gonzalez, Howard N. Fox, and Chon A. Noriega explore the topic in depth. With more than two hundred color illustrations, twenty-five individual artist portfolios, and a wryly subversive chronology of significant moments in Chicano cultural history, Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement charts new territory and provides a conceptual sampling of Chicano art today.

Fire of Life, The: The Robert Legorreta-Cyclona Collection
(The Chicano Archives)
UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press; Pap/DVD edition (July 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0895511207 ISBN-13: 978-089551120 Paperback
Robb Hernandez

The Fire of Life, the collection of performance artist Robert Legorreta, is a fascinating and eclectic archive. Correspondence, artwork, photographs, and other materials document Legorreta's artistic career and trace the development of the East L.A. arts scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

The collection contains more than a thousand LPs, gathered primarily for the Latino imagery on their covers, and toys, coupons, and ads, that show how Latino themes have been used to promote consumer products.

Con Safo: The Chicano Art Group and the Politics of South Texas
Paperback UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press (July 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0895511215 ISBN-13: 978-0895511218
Ruben C. Cordova (Author)

Ruben C. Cordova traces the history of Con Safo, one of the earliest and most significant of the Chicano art groups, from 1968, when it formed as El Grupo, to the mid-1970s, when Con Safo gradually disbanded. 

Founded by Felipe Reyes, the original group was made up of six San Antonio artists. The fluxuating membership over the decade of the group's existence included Mel Casas, Jose Esquivel, Rudy Trevino, and Roberto Rios. Although the structure of the original group changed, its mission did not: Con Safo defined possibilities for Chicano art at a time when Chicano culture was largely invisible.

Cordova's painstaking research, which included extensive archival work and interviews with group members and activists, resolves many of the contradictions and fills in many of the gaps that exist in earlier accounts of the group. Con Safo: The Chicano Art Group and the Politics of South Texas is an important resource for anyone interested in Chicano art and Chicano history. The book concludes with reproductions of original documents related to the group, including Casas's Brown Paper Report.

Contemporary Chican@ Art: Color and Culture for a New America
Paperback University of Texas Press; 1 edition (February 15, 2010)
ISBN-10: 029272117X ISBN-13: 978-0292721173
George Vargas 

From its inception in the 1960s to its present form, contemporary Mexican American or Chicano art has developed as an art of identity, asserting the uniqueness of Chicanos and their dual Mexican and U.S. American cultural backgrounds. 

Because it emerged as a social phenomenon, however, many people outside the Chicano community have perceived Chicano art as merely protest art or social commentary, and Mexican American artists have been largely ignored in mainstream museums and absent in art history texts on American art. 

Yet more than ever before, Chicano art is diverse in medium, style, technique, and content -- the cutting edge of a bold attempt to redefine and advance the American experience through new ideas of who we are as Americans and what American art is.

Contemporary Chican@ Art is a general introduction and guide to one of the most exciting and meaningful expressions in contemporary American art. Intended for the casual reader as well as for art history scholars and students, the book provides an overview of work created from the 1960s to the present. 

George Vargas follows the dramatic evolution of Chicano art within the broader context of American cultural history. He shows that while identity politics was and still is a prevailing force in Chicano expression, Chicano art has undergone a remarkable transformation, shifting from a strict Chicano perspective to a more universal one, while still remaining a people's art. In the concluding chapter, Vargas takes an in-depth look at selected Chicano artists who share their thoughts about the Chicano artistic enterprise and their own work.

Bringing Aztlan to Mexican Chicago: My Life, My Work, My Art
Latinos in Chicago and Midwest Series Paperback University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (June 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0252077350 ISBN-13: 978-0252077357
Jose Gamaliel Gonzalez (Author), Marc Zimmerman (Editor)

Bringing Aztlán to Mexican Chicago is the autobiography of Jóse Gamaliel González, an impassioned artist willing to risk all for the empowerment of his marginalized and oppressed community. 

Through recollections emerging in a series of interviews conducted over a period of six years by his friend Marc Zimmerman, González looks back on his life and his role in developing Mexican, Chicano, and Latino art as a fundamental dimension of the city he came to call home.

Born near Monterey, Mexico, and raised in a steel mill town in northwest Indiana, González studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. Settling in Chicago, he founded two major art groups: El Movimiento Artístico Chicano (MARCH) in the 1970s and Mi Raza Arts Consortium (MIRA) in the 1980s.

With numerous illustrations, this book portrays González's all-but-forgotten community advocacy, his commitments and conflicts, and his long struggle to bring quality arts programming to the city. By turns dramatic and humorous, his narrative also covers his bouts of illness, his relationships with other artists and arts promoters, and his place within city and barrio politics.

Moctezuma's Table: Rolando Briseno's Mexican and Chicano Tablescapes 
Rio Grande/Rio Bravo: Borderlands Culture and Traditions Series 
TAMU Press (August 11, 2010)
ISBN-10: 9781603441834
ISBN-13: 978-1603441834
Norma E. Cantu (Editor)

The table provides the food that sustains physical life. It is also the setting for people to share the fellowship that sustains cultural, community, and political life.

In the vision of artist Rolando Briseño, food is a powerful metaphor, a way of understanding how culture nurtures the spirit. When cultures collide-as they inevitably do in borderlands settings-food, its preparation, and the rituals surrounding its consumption can preserve meanings and understandings that might otherwise have been lost to the mainstream social narrative.

Briseño’s exhibit, La Mesa de Moctezuma/Moctezuma’s Table, originally hosted by San Antonio’s Instituto Cultural Mexicano and later by the Instituto de México, Montreal, Canada, brings to vivid life the artist’s conception of food as life source, social symbol, and embodiment of meaning.

Now, editor Norma E. Cantú has gathered the art, along with the words of fifteen poets, writers, artists, and scholars who reflect in various ways on the layers of interpretation to be derived from Briseño’s works. Their thoughts provide focal points for musings about food, transborder relationships between food and art, personal connections to food, individual works within the exhibit, and the intense and immediate connections among culture, food, and self.

L.A. Xicano
Hardcover UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press (November 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0895511452
ISBN-13: 978-0895511454
Chon A. Noriega (Editor), Terezita Romo (Editor), Pilar Tompkins Rivas (Editor)

L.A. Xicano accompanies four interrelated exhibitions that explore the diverse artistic contributions of Mexican American and Chicano artists to American art and to Los Angeles's artistic development since 1945. 

The volume's six illustrated essays examine the life and works of dozens of artists and photographers. The authors consider the context of their turbulent history, particularly the development of the Chicano Movement.

The L.A. Xicano project was organized by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center in collaboration with the Autry National Center, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Pocho Research Society's Field Guide to Erased and Invisible Histories
Paperback UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press (November 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0895511460 ISBN-13: 978-0895511461
Sandra de la Loza (Author)

Visual and performance artist Sandra de la Loza presents a wry commentary on the Chicano history of Los Angeles in this field guide to Downtown and East Los Angeles. 

Using the format of the photographic essay, she documents the exploits of the Pocho Research Society, an organization dedicated to commemorating sites in Los Angeles that are of importance to the Chicano community but that have been erased by urban development or neglect. 

Through the unauthorized acts of commemoration, the Pocho Research Society calls our attention to their absence from official narratives.

The field guide also offers playful tours of the murals at Estrada Courts and the Fort No Moore Secret Museum, founded by the Pocho Research Society to preserve the history of the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial (a history that includes accounts of the Lizard People, who lived in catacombs far beneath the monument).

By drawing attention to these invisible monuments and lost histories, de la Loza asks her readers to consider the broader question of what constitutes a community's history.

Ytrebil: Prints and Drawings by Enrique Chagoya
Paperback CreateSpace (June 26, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1453634436 ISBN-13: 978-1453634431
Galería de la Raza (Author), Carolina Ponce de León (Introduction) 

Galería de la Raza is a non-profit community-based arts organization whose mission is to foster public awareness and appreciation of Chicano/Latino art. To implement our mission, Galería supports Latino artists in the visual, literary, media and performing art fields whose works explore new aesthetic possibilities for socially committed art.

The Beautiful Walls: Photographic Elevations of Street Art in Los Angeles, Berlin, and Paris
Photography by Larry Yust
Text by Patrick A. Polk
University of Washington Press October 2010

Graffiti is a forceful way of inscribing presence or "being" in the world as well as a means of creating affective links to the potency of natural wonders, religious shrines, and ancient ruins as well as the contemporary cityscape. The photographic elevations presented in this volume represent a graffiti-punctuated pilgrim's progress built around the aesthetics of defacement. Graffiti- and mural-covered walls, buildings, automobiles, and railcars are the artful wonders, the vibrant shrines, and the dynamic ruins that structured Larry Yust's pilgrimage to some of the most famed metropolitan centers of the world. He has brought back panoramic souvenirs; vistas that let us be there in a way that is perhaps better than being there. This book celebrates the artistry and audacity of the taggers and uncommissioned muralists who decorate and deface contemporary cities.

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