Apr. 8, 2022 @ 5:00 pm – Aug. 21, 2022 @ 5:00 pm
The Virtual Exhibition
Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960’s to 1980’s highlights Chicano and Chicana artists in Austin, Texas during “El Movimiento” (The Chicano Civil Rights Movement). This exhibition serves as a primer on the rich and understudied Chicano art movement in Austin, presenting a variety of mediums, themes, and artists. Artwork by prolific artists of the area paired with documentary ephemera creates context for those turbulent times. This exhibition highlights the challenges these artists faced as they learned about their history, dealt with systemic injustice, sought a unique Chicano/a art voice, and found or created a place for themselves.
The exhibition brings together revolutionary artwork with abstract, conceptual, and commercial art, showing the breadth of creativity that these artists achieved in this time in a variety of forms including visual art, music by the band Conjunto Aztlán and others, photography, dance, music, poetry, literature, film, and other forms.
Prominent Visual Artists
The exhibition includes Tito Aguirre, M.A. Ambray Gonzales, Alicia Arredondo, Alicia Barraza, Santa Barraza, Sam Coronado, Nancy de los Santos, Nora González Dodson, Carolina Flores, Rey Gaytan, Carmen Lomas Garza, Mary Jane Garza, Marsha Gomez, Luis Guerra, Juan Pablo Gutierrez, Luis Gutierrez, Bruce Harnett, Bill Leissner, Pedro Meyer, Sylvia Orozco, Janis Palma, Amado Peña, Yolanda Petrocelli, Alan Pogue, Pio Pulido, Manuel “Chaca” Ramirez, Pedro Rodriguez, Vicente “Chente” Rodriguez, Marta Sanchez, José Treviño, Modesta Treviño, and Raul Valdez, and murals by the next generation Master Muralist Amado Castillo III with Amado Castillo IV, and student assistants.
The 1960s saw the beginning of a great push for socioeconomic and racial justice across the United States, Texas, and Austin. Protests took place demanding access to affordable housing, better working conditions, quality education, and later in the decade and into the 1970s, a push against higher-than-average draft rates of Mexican American and Black men into the Vietnam War. Multi-cultural alliances were seen in events like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta helping the United Farm Works Union organize Mexican American and Filipino farmworkers.
These tumultuous times and events touched the heart of Texas as well. In and around Austin protests for farmworkers rights took place, KKK rallies occurred, police brutality went unchecked, the Texas Farm Workers marched in advocation of better labor rights for farmers, and the Brown Berets called upon Mexican Americans and the U.S. Government for a more just existence for Mexican Americans. Many Chicana and Chicano artists began to connect the lessons they were learning about the systemic oppression of Mexican Americans to the events that were happening around them.
For some of these Austin artists a “Concientización” (Awakening of consciousness) took place while learning the history of oppression their people faced, gaining pride in their connections to indigenous and mestizo roots, or finding unity in the concept of “Aztlán” (the ancestral Aztec homeland). This awakening led to a re evaluation of their artwork. During this time The University of Texas art faculty focused on the popular art trend of “Universal” art; artwork that appealed to all people. These teachers made it clear that art should not be used as a political tool, but instead a more personal expression. For some of these young Chicano and Chicana artists, standing outside the fray with their artwork was not an option. Many of these artists created work for local Chicano newspapers and political causes, while also creating more traditional art projects to fulfill their assignments as students.
In and out of the university arena, anxiousness about systemic injustice spilled into the community and artists reacted by joining community protests and creating opportunities to learn and teach Chicano art and culture. These efforts evolved into the creations of civic and cultural organizations pushing for greater equality. Some of these included LUChA (League of United Chicano Artists), MAS (Mujeres Artistas Del Suroeste), CASA (Chicano Art Student Association), MAYO (Mexican American Youth Organization), the Brown Berets, and the Raza Unida Party. A push for greater education equality led to the founding of the Center for Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas, a leader in Chicano education in universities. A push for creative independence would lead some of these people to begin their own organizations like La Peña Gallery and Mexic-Arte Museum in the mid- eighties.
part of the exhibition is enhanced with a web page, an online exhibition and a virtual lecture series, all established in order to better reach a broader audience. The exhibition is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960’s to 1980’s is divided into five themes: Creating a context, Los Artistas, M.A.S. (Mujeres Artistas del Suroeste) Women of the Southwest, Chicano Activism at UT Austin and in the Community, and Establishing Centros and Museums.
In keeping with our mission, the Museum’s Collection is a vehicle whereby the public can gain access to valuable information on cultural heritage. Humanities programs encourage an understanding of humanity in the broader culture of Texas, and in the global community.
Artwork used in event banner: José Treviño, Unos de los Quemados,1974, Oil on canvas, 38″ x 30″, n.d. Courtesy of Modesta and José Treviño.
CultureConnect is a new mobile tool that Mexic-Arte Museum is utilizing to make exhibitions and artwork accessible to the community. Through CultureConnect, Mexic-Arte Museum can present curated information about the artwork and give the viewer a chance to explore the artist and artwork in depth!
Virtual Lecture Series
In conjunction with the online exhibit, the Mexic-Arte Museum hosted a series of online lectures led by art historians and professors from July 12th – August 23rd. The virtual lectures were live streamed via Facebook Live, and moderated by Mexic-Arte Museum Curator & Director of Programs Isabel Servantez.
A History of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Austin, 1691-1990
Lecture led by Dr. Cynthia Orozco
The first lecture and Q&A in the Humanities Scholars Lecture Series is led by Dr. Cynthia E. Orozco. This lecture address the early colonial history of the Austin area, the arrival of Mexicans to the area, the establishment of barrios, and the political, economic, and social status of this community before 1990.
Dr. Cynthia E. Orozco is an award-winning best-selling author, public historian, and film and museum consultant.
As part of the virtual lecture, we invite you to read or download Dr. Cynthia Orozco’s essay, “ A History of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Austin.”
A Personal Testimonio: The Convergence of the Chicano Movement, Chicano Studies and the Xicano/a Cultural Renaissance in Austin, Texas, 1972-1980.
Lecture led by Juan Tejeda
The second lecture and Q&A in the Humanities Scholars Lecture Series is led by Juan Tejeda. A personal testament to his experiences within the Chicano movement, Tejeda re-accounts the groundwork laid that helped further the social justice and liberation ideals and goals of the Chicano Movement.
Juan Tejeda is a musician, writer, ex-jefe danzante Mexica-Azteca, arts administrator, educator, activist, editor and publisher.
As part of the virtual lecture, we invite you to read or download Juan Tejedas essay, “A Personal Testimonio: The Convergence of the Chicano Movement, Chicano Studies and the Xicano/a Cultural Renaissance in Austin, Texas, 1972-1980.”
The Origins and Evolution of Chicano Art: Perspectives on Texas and California
Lecture led by Dr. Ricardo Romo
The third lecture and Q&A in the Humanities Scholars Lecture Series is led by Dr. Ricardo Romo. This lecture explores how America’s largest Latino states, Texas and California, influenced Chicano art over the period 1967-1985.
Dr. Ricardo Romo is a nationally respected urban historian who has served on four Presidential Commissions and has taught and published in the field of civil rights, Mexican American history, and urban history.
As part of the virtual lecture, we invite you to read or download Dr. Ricardo Romo’s essay, “Chicano/a Art and Activism in Austin.”
Exploring the Influence and Significance of Latin American Visual Culture in Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s
Lecture led by Dr. Lucía Abramovich Sánchez
The fourth lecture and Q&A in the Humanities Scholars Lecture Series is led by Dr. Lucía Abramovich Sánchez. Viewing the exhibit through the lens of cross-cultural references, Sánchez reviews the references to Latin American art in the works included in the exhibition.
Lucía Abramovich Sánchez is the Associate Curator of Latin American Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA).
As part of the virtual lecture, we invite you to read or download Dr. Lucía Abramovich Sánchez’s essay, “Exploring the Influence and Significance of Latin American Visual Culture in Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s.”
Managing Migration: Criminalization vs Legalization
Lecture led by Dr. Gilbert Cardenas
The fifth lecture and Q&A in the Humanities Scholars Lecture Series is led by Dr. Gilbert Cardenas. This lecture focuses on the impact of a disproportionate reliance on criminalization strategies for the management of migration flows across the US- Mexican border which has had caused great harm to the flows of migrants.
Gilberto Cárdenas was the founding Executive Director of the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture. He was the founding Director of the Institute for Latino Studies, 1999-2012 and Assistant Provost at the University of Notre Dame.
As part of the virtual lecture, we invite you to read or download Gilberto Cárdenas essay, “Borders, Migration and Art – The U.S.-Mexico Experience.”
A love affair of a fronteriza with Chicano Art. Una memoria.
Lecture led by Dr. Amelia Malagamba Ansótegui
The sixth lecture and Q&A in the Humanities Scholars Lecture Series was led by Dr. Amelia Malagamba Ansótegui. In an introduction to her personal experience with Chicano Art from the late 1960s on, Ansótegui relates her own history as a fronteriza del otro lado.
Dr. Amelia Malagamba Ansótegui is the Co-founder of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte” a research institution, at the main campus in Tijuana.
The Chicana Movement in Austin: A Legacy of Activism, Feminism, and Intergenerational Encuentros
Lecture led by Dr. Brenda Sendejo
The seventh lecture and Q&A in the Humanities Scholars Lecture Series was led by Dr. Brenda Sendejo. Sharing interviews, oral histories, and archival research on Chicana activism, feminism, and spirituality this presentation focused on Dr. Sendejo’s collaborative research with women involved in the Texas Chicana/o movement.
Dr. Brenda Sendejo is a cultural anthropologist who is co-founder and director of the Latina History Project. This intergenerational oral history/digital archive project documents Chicana and Latina civil rights, feminism, and activism in Texas since the 1960s.
Memories, Recollections y Mas : Artist Panel Discussion- Panel 1
Memories, Recollections y Mas : Artist Panel Discussion- Panel 2
Creating a context
The Chicano art movement that began in the 1960s is inextricably linked to the Chicano civil rights movement that began at the same time. During this time, progressive groups around the country including the Brown Berets and the Black Panthers worked for the rights of the oppressed. Some of the issues they addressed were poverty, a lack of access to proper education, corrupt policing, unfair labor practices, and the war in Vietnam. In this section of Chicano/a Art, Movimiento Y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s-1980s viewers are introduced to some of the protests that took place around Austin that connect to the larger Chicano civil rights movement. Through a large collection of documentary photographs by Luis Gutierrez, Bill Leissner, Sylvia Orozco, Yolanda Petrocelli, Alan Pogue, Manuel “Chaca” Ramirez, Gilbert Rivera, and Nancy de los Santos we see first-hand evidence of the struggle that these people lived through for a more just life in Austin and around the country.
Online visitors can view Creating a Context virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!
As the capital of Texas and hub for arts and culture, Austin has been ground zero for artistic and political progress and upheaval. This center for cultural and movement attracted and continues to attract people that wish to make a statement or create change in their lives and in the lives of the people around them. For Chicano and Chicana artists this community was filled with inspiration for creating artwork that addressed the socio-political issues of the 1960s through the 1980s and their own creative interests. These artists created work of all types. For an artist like Raul Valdez, a commitment to create artwork with and for the community was forged at this time, while an artist like Santa Barraza began a burgeoning career that has focused on the personal and spiritual.
Online visitors can view Los Artistas virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!
M.A.S. (Mujeres Artistas del Suroeste) Women of the Southwest
An unfortunate aspect of the Chicano movement is the underrepresentation of women both within the Chicano civil rights movement and the early Chicano art movement. Although important figures, like Dolores Huerta held valuable roles in organizations like the United Farm Workers union, on large-scale women were excluded from participation and leadership positions in the movement. This exclusion left many talented women with an important creative perspective without a support system to work on political change or further their artistic vision.
The founding of M.A.S. came from a similar background. In 1977, Santa Barraza co-founded M.A.S. with Nora González Dodson. This group grew out of the Encuentro Artistico Femenil Chicana art networks. This group formed by women of multicultural members, including Mexican Americans, a Filipina, and a Puerto Rican, created a space where they could find their work challenged and supported. Other members that would join the group were Alicia Arredondo, Mario Flores, and Sylvia Orozco.
M.A.S. sought to sustain a cultural legacy and collaboration among Chicana women. Groups like this, led by women continue to exist and resist the patriarchal control and overemphasis on male artists. Many of the women in this group have supported younger generations and have been a model for those groups and individuals.
Online visitors can view M.A.S. (Mujeres Artistas del Suroeste) Women of the Southwest virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!
Chicano Activism at UT Austin and in the Community
The 1960s is known for being a time of protest all over the United States. People across the country organized and protested in favor of wage equality, the fight against poverty, anti-Vietnam War protests, race inequality, education disparity, women’s rights, and many other issues. The Brown Berets, a group focused on addressing the inequalities that Chicanos and Mexican Americans faced became involved in organizing protests in Austin and across the country. A notable leader in Austin was Paul Hernandez, the founder of The Brown Berets in Austin, who is also featured on the Congress Avenue and 5th street mural of the Mexic-Arte Museum building, painted by Amado Castillo III and Amado Castillo IV.
Throughout Chicano/a Art Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s you will see how artists often used their skills to support the Chicano civil rights movement. In a variety of media, photography, painting, and serigraphy, highlighted in this exhibition, this generation of Chicano and Chicana artists used their creativity and desire to make socio-economic progress in Austin and in larger society. In works like Luis Guerra’s Texas Farmworkers March to Washington for Human Rights from 1977, photographs of protests, taken by Sylvia Orozco, Yolanda Petrocelli, and Alan Pogue, and Amado Peña’s serigraphs supporting farm worker’s rights.
Online visitors can view Chicano Activism at UT Austin and in the Community virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!
Establishing Centros and Museums
A goal for many artists, activists, and academics starting at least as early as the 1960s was a push for greater access to space within organizations and a push for spaces that represented Chicanos and Chicanas. This conception has come to some reality with the creation of institutions in Austin like Mexic-Arte Museum, La Peña Art Gallery, and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Before these institutions became cemented as institution of knowledge and sharing of Latinx creativity in Austin, students sought information and inspiration addressing the turbulent state of the world they found themselves in. The oppression and second-class citizenry that they were subjected to pushed these young artists to seek reading materials that outlined oppression in this country as it presented itself to Chicanos.
Online visitors can view Establishing Centros and Museums virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!
The PastPerfect Online portal is where you can further explore the entire permanent collection. You can be more specific and run queries depending on the art you’re interested in researching. Mexic-Arte Museum’s PastPerfect Online portal is always being updated with artworks newly acquired by the museum, so it’s worth investigating periodically.
Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.