March 8, 2021

POSTED BY

Rafael Esquer

CATEGORY

¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now

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Oree Originol, Justice for Our Lives, 2014–20, installation view at Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.Photo Albert Ting/Courtesty Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. Printmaking has been the primary medium for Chicano artist to express themselves because of its immediacy, accessibility, and graphic power. Through August 8, 2021, the Smithsonian …

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Oree Originol, Justice for Our Lives, 2014–20, installation view at Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Photo Albert Ting/Courtesty Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Printmaking has been the primary medium for Chicano artist to express themselves because of its immediacy, accessibility, and graphic power. Through August 8, 2021, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington presents ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now. It documents the powerful work of activist Chicano artists along with the remarkable history of printmaking. Many artists who came of age during the civil rights, labor, anti-war, feminism, and LGBTQ+ movements channeled their experiences into assertive aesthetic statements that presented a new political and cultural consciousness among people of Mexican descent in the United States. This timely exhibition demonstrates the ways in which Chicanx artists have advanced innovative printmaking practices attuned to social justice.

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Left: Ester Hernandez, Sun Mad, 1982, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, 1995.50.32, © 1982, Ester Hernández. Right: Lalo Alcaraz, I Stand with Emma, 2018, digital image, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2020.41

One of my favorite parts of the show is the Changemakers where one can, not only meet some of the most important characters in in social justice, but also witness a delicious richness in styles and printing techniques. From Dolores Huerta to Rosana Dueñas, Emiliano Zapata to Jose Guadalupe Posada, Angela Davis to Selena Quintanilla, and from Jose Marti to Martin Luther King Jr.

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Left: Barbara Carrasco, Dolores, 1999, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Frank K. Ribelin Endowment, 2020.22.7, © 1999, Barbara Carrasco. Right: Ernesto Yerena Montejano, Stand with LA Teachers!, 2019, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Patricia Tobacco Forrester Endowment, 2020.50.1, © 2019, Ernesto Yerena and Roxana Dueñas
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Left: Leonard Castellanos, RIFA, from Méchicano 1977 Calendario, 1976, screenprint on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2012.53.1, © 1976, Leonard Castellanos. Right: Carlos A. Cortéz, José Guadalupe Posada, 1981, signed 1983, linocut on paper mounted on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, 1995.50.9, © 2020, Dora Katsikakis

Artists and collectives featured in the exhibition include Rupert García, Malaquias Montoya, Ester Hernandez, the Royal Chicano Air Force, Elizabeth Sisco, Louis Hock, David Avalos, Sandra C. Fernández, Juan de Dios Mora, the Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA, Enrique Chagoya, René Castro, Juan Fuentes, and Linda Lucero, among others.

¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now is a show that must be studied by all Mexican Americans and Latinx as it will help us understand where we came from and give us a glimpse into where we could go from here.

The show can be experienced online and is also available in Spanish. Check out the video overview made by Smithsonian American Art Museum below.

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Left: Oscar Melara, José Martí, 1976, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Lincoln Cushing/ Docs Populi, 2019.54.5, © 1976, Oscar Melara. Right: René Castro, I Am Ashamed, MLK, 1992, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2020.45.2
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Left: Rupert García, ¡LIBERTAD PARA LOS PRISONEROS POLITICAS!, 1971, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Margaret Terrazas Santos Collection, 2019.52.2, © 1971, Rupert García. Right: Rodolfo O. Cuellar, Selena, A Fallen Angel, 1995, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Julia D. Strong Endowment, 2020.36.1, © 2020, Rodolfo O. Cuellar