Monday, November 7, 2011

L.A. Xicano: Mexican Me

I felt like I was getting “in-touch” with my Mexican heritage at the P.S.T. exhibition L.A Xicano at the Fowler Museum at UCLA were the Mapping Another L.A.: Chicano Art Movement and Icons of the Invisible exhibitions were up. I chose to go to these exhibitions instead of the one at the Hammer Museum because as a Mexican-American, I was really interested in the Chicano culture here in L.A. and the art that came from it. It was nice to see a blend of culture, history and artwork in one exhibition. I guess there is a bit of everything in every exhibition for me this one was the clearest. It showed political posters of all of the problems that minorities were going through in the 70’s. There were paintings, sculptures, photographs, performance and posters.

Judith Baca 101st Infantry Japanese Americans), 1981

I was pleased to see some of Judith Baca’s work up for display. I really like her work and all of the Mexican aspects she puts into her images. Her mural sketches were really interesting. You could see the planning that went into creating a future mural. The Dia de Los Muertos pieces were nice as well because that is a very significant part of Mexican culture. I know that murals are very popular in Mexican art because they display the culture for everyone to see. These images are for the people, they are not done in canvases to be hung up in a museum. They are done so that people could interact with them, almost so they could be a part of the people.

On a funnier note, another piece I liked was the Cholo Printed Poster 1977-1979 because it was a little comical. It really did look like the stereotype of what a Latino gangster looked like. When someone says the word “cholo” it has a lot of negative connotation. Being called that is not a good thing because cholos are most of the time low-class criminals. I have to admit that some of my cousins used to look like that back in their ‘cholo’ days. It was funny because I could sort of relate to it. Another amazing piece was Barbara Carrasco’s La Mujer. I thought it was a very appealing piece and it was one of my favorites. It was very visually appealing.

As for the Cesar Chavez posters, although I feel the movement he started was good, I am personally not a fan of Cesar Chavez for a number of reasons. Whenever I saw him, my face just went from inspired to disappointed. I really do not like the fact that he was really into defending mostly Mexican workers rights, but at the same time called the police on his own people just because they were illegal. I find that completely disgusting that one would turn their back on their own. He would personally call the police on his people who were in desperate need of help, and some of his followers even beat up those immigrants who they had not succeeded into convincing them not to come to the United States. Obviously those people came for some help, not to be maltreated by their own kind. I wish I could’ve seen less of him and just more images and posters about the UVAS NO movement instead. I did the movement had great intentions. I just felt like Cesar Chavez should have a “Judas”.


  1. Hi Jessica- I went to the show at the Hammer and did not get to see this one, but I liked that you went. I think it is good that you chose to go to this exhibit rather than the Hammer's because you felt like you would be able to connect with it more.

  2. I think you are the only one who went to the Fowler Museum. I’m glad you did though! I was pretty curious about it but I didn’t have the time to go, so thank you for your descriptions! Did you think you were able to get in-touch with your Mexican heritage after seeing this exhibition? I grew up near right along the border of Mexico, and I’m glad that there are some Dia de Los Muertos pieces. If it’s possible, can you post some pictures of other artworks that you liked that were at the museum? I’d love to see more examples!

  3. To Hailey: Yes, I felt like I would get more out of going to the Mexican exhibition because it is a part of who I am and I got to learn a lot about my people.

  4. To Grace: I think I was the only one who went to the Fowler Museum too. It is a little unfortunate because it was a nice exhibition. I did get in touch with my Mexican heritage, I actually learned a lot about my culture that I did not know before. Oh wow, really? Was it interesting living so close to a whole different country? I wish I could post pictures but unfortunately I could not find any of the ones I wrote down online for some reason...however, if I do, I will definitely post them.

  5. Hi, Jessica: A strong way to start this post would be, "I felt like I was getting 'in touch' with my Mexican heritage at the L.A. Xicano P.S.T. exhibitions at the Fowler Museum." It's catchy, it conveys that you have Mexican roots, and it gets straight to the main point.

    I'd like you to stick to that main point throughout your post. What did you actually learn about yourself and your heritage? Be specific. Be as personal as you comfortably can. Remember your audience, which may not know very much about Xicano culture then or now. Don't condescend, of course, but keep in mind that you have an opportunity to educate not just yourself, but a wide audience that includes your classmates as well as the "general public." (We have more than 6,000 hits! A large portion of them come from outside Otis.)

    Definitely include relevant images and links. I'm having some trouble finding good jpegs of the pieces you mention, but perhaps you could link to this short YouTube video about Baca's Great Wall and SPARC?

    Or images like these of Baca at work (murals in progress):

    Or even better, images of Baca's drawings (similar to the ones at the Fowler) that were in _Under the Big Black Sun_: Did you see them at MOCA Geffen?

    Good work so far. It's great you attended the Fowler. It was my first visit to that museum, even though I've been to the Hammer many times. My favorite piece in this exhibition was actually the Asco video that was projected inside the old fashioned telephone booth. The map that illustrated how many murals are in East L.A. really interested me, too. One can say "a ton of murals," but seeing all of them on a map really makes the power of mural art in the Mexican-American community visible. That's something you might address in your post, too. *Why* are murals such a significant art form in L.A., especially within the Xicano community?

    I look forward to reading your revision!

  6. P.S. Jessica, I'm super-curious about your position on Cesar Chavez! It would be a totally relevant discussion in this context.