An Artist Mined the Paramount Pictures Archives to Critique Mexican Representation in Cinema History at Frieze Projects

Article by Sarah Cascone for Artnet

Tucked away on the Paramount Pictures backlot at Frieze Los Angeles is a museological display in crumbling vitrines. It pairs historic images of Mexican movie stars with collages recalling moments of conflict for Chicanos in Los Angeles history, such as the Zoot Suit Riots and the demolition of Chavez Ravine, a Mexican neighborhood, to build Dodger Stadium.

The piece, titled Wolf Songs for the Dead, is by Vincent Ramos, a third generation Mexican American Angeleno who was granted access to the Paramount Pictures archives for the project.

“I focused on Mexican or Chicano representation over the course of the studio’s history,” from the 1930s through the ’70s, Ramos told Artnet News. “I wanted to use the opportunity [of the archives] as a starting point to talk about a much larger issue, about representation in general.”

The artist was a natural choice for curators Rita Gonzalez and Pilar Tompkins Rivas for this year’s Frieze Projects. Through his practice, which is steeped in archival research, Ramos was already invested in cinematic history, incorporating old film stills and movie posters in his work to uncover the overlooked histories of Los Angeles’s Mexican and Latino communities.

When it came to the Paramount archives, the research was illuminating, but also revealed lots of gaps in the record. “Because of the nature of this material, the ephemera, the paper, a lot of this just didn’t survive its era,” said Ramos. “The studios got rid of a lot of stuff because they didn’t think it was going to be worth anything.”

The artist wasn’t permitted to use the actual archival materials in the project, so he instead purchased the images he wanted on eBay or from other sources, adding to his already considerable collection. After the fair, the site-specific piece will be taken apart, the historic photographs ready for use in Ramos’s future projects.

“I never stop collecting. It’s always growing,” said Ramos.

As one might expect, the project deals heavily with stereotypes, with film stills from old Westerns that cast Mexican actors as bandits and criminals. But there are also glamorous headshots of Mexican actresses who became icons of the silver screen, reminding the viewer of the complexities of representation.

“It’s particularly poignant for us to present a project like this,” said Gonzalez, “because one of the problems with the lack of visibility of Latinos is that what fills the void is the hate speech, such as Trump’s speech about Mexican people as rapists.”

Ramos’s work tells the unseen stories. His collages remind the viewer about tense historical events such as the National Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War, which killed four Latino activists including journalist Ruben Salazar. He’s done them on paper the same size as traditional Hollywood one-sheet film posters, tying it back to cinematic history and pop culture.

The work is both about “depictions of Mexicans and then the real on the ground conflicts and struggles in Los Angeles at the same time,” Gonzalez said.

Frieze Los Angeles will take place at Paramount Pictures Studios, entrance at Lot B 5400 Melrose Avenue or 801 N Gower Street, Los Angeles, February 13–16, 2020.

How Austin’s early graffiti art scene helped influence today’s local murals

As Austin artists continue to produce buzz-worthy murals that pepper our social media feeds, a new exhibit takes us back to an influential era that helped shape today’s growing local street art scene.

“Piecing It Together: Austin Graffiti Art 1984-2004,” a graffiti art and photo exhibit that runs through March 28 at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, focuses on the pivotal years when the first three generations of Austin graffiti artists began shaking up the public’s attitude toward the art form. The exhibit’s featured artists, including prominent graffiti artist and co-curator Nathan “Sloke One” Nordstrom, will discuss how graffiti changed Austin art forever from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 15.

“Austin graffiti didn’t start at Castle Hill (graffiti park),” Nordstrom says. “No out-of-towner came and brought it. Austin has it’s own history and what we see today is in large part due to these three generations.”

“Piecing It Together,” highlights archival photographs featuring some of the top graffiti art of the era, as well as new graffiti pieces on canvas by about a dozen artists who helped elevate the city’s art scene during that time. The exhibit, co-curated by Chale Nafus, also honors local graffiti art pioneer Alfredo “Skam” Martinez, a trailblazer who was among the first wave of Austin graffiti writers.

In 1994, Martinez was shot and killed during a robbery attempt while he was waiting in line at a Houston drive-thru restaurant. By then, the young artist had already established himself in the local art world, helping legitimize graffiti through his work with the Dougherty Arts Center and his murals at the now-decommissioned Holly Power Plant in East Austin. In the early 1990s, Martinez partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to create a graffiti-style mural that would resonate with youth. In 2016, East Austin artists gathered to restore that mural at the base of an electrical tower off of Pleasant Valley Road.

“My brother was one of the best (graffiti writers) on the street, and I’m grateful that Austin is able to keep his legacy alive,” says Martinez’s sister, Diane Perez, whose artwork is displayed alongside her brother’s pieces in the exhibit. Perez, who began painting after her brother’s death to help her with the grieving process, calls it “priceless” to know her late brother’s graffiti art now hangs in the cultural center’s art gallery.

For Robert “Kane” Herrera, who along with Martinez paved the way for Austin’s graffiti art scene, the exhibit offers a chance for a new generation to understand the art form’s history in the city. Herrera earned his first mural contract at 19 and worked on several murals including at Gillis Park and the “For la Raza” mural at the former Holly Power Plant. In 2018, he helped restore that mural as part of an effort to help save East Austin murals. “Graffiti goes beyond boundaries,” he said. “It’s about expression in its truest form. It is saying, ‘Here I am. I exist.’”

While preparing for the exhibit, Nordstrom combed through thousands of archival photos from 1984-2004. “And yet there’s still thousands of (photographs) that were never taken,” he says. Much of the history of the temporary art form, particularly its early days, now just lives through local graffiti artists who helped develop the scene here.

Nordstrom, who had been mentored by Martinez, remembers Austin’s second generation of graffiti artists rose between 1990-1998. Many of the first generation artists, he says, had moved on to more commissioned work or stopped painting. But Nordstrom, along with about a dozen other artists in that second generation, went on to form NBK, or No Boundaries Krew, an influential graffiti crew throughout the state and beyond.

“And then all of a sudden you got this crew that’s going around town doing graffiti everywhere – graffiti murals, painting freight trains,” Nordstrom says. “It was almost like this revival of Austin graffiti.” Other graffiti crews also began launching at the time.

By the 2000s, the internet brought more ways to share and document graffiti styles, and a third generation of artists began to experiment with broader color palettes and low-pressure spray paint cans, Nordstrom says.

″(Today’s murals) didn’t just pop out of nowhere,” he says. “A lot of people have sacrificed a lot, including going to jail, because they love the art.”

Each generation, he says, adds a layer to the foundation.

“As this city continues to grow, its history is crucial,” Nordstrom says. “It’s good to know where you come from. It’s good to know those roots.”

IF YOU GO

What: “Piecing It Together” panel discussion bringing featured graffiti artists together to talk about Austin’s graffiti art history from 1984-2004

Where: Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

When: 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 15; exhibit runs through March 28

Cost: Free

More information: austintexas.gov/page/emma-s-barrientos-mexican-american-cultural-center-exhibits

OAXACALIFORNIA: EXCLUSIVE MEMBER OPENING

Anybody in the Long Beach area? This looks like a new exhibit on the horizon at MOLAA.

OAXACALIFORNIA:
THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE OF THE DUO TLACOLULOKOS

Exclusive Member Opening
7 PM – 9 PM | Free

The Museum is proud to present the culturally prominent exhibition of Oaxacan Murals. The series consists of eight murals created by Oaxacan artist collective, Tlacolulokos. The murals explore the intersections of language and culture as a key lifeline – sustaining the shared experience between Los Angeles and Mexico, and beyond. By focusing on exploring the history and underrepresentation of indigenous peoples, the murals address how migration and the socio-political environment shape identity and cultural traditions.

Members – RSVP by clicking below or calling us at (562) 437—1689.

  • Museum of Latin American Art628 Alamitos AvenueLong Beach, CA, 90802United States (map)

Cecilia Vicuña: “About to Happen”, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, 2019-20

In celebration of Miami Art Week 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA) will present the first major U.S. solo exhibition of influential Chilean-born artist Cecilia Vicuña. “About to Happen” traces Vicuña’s career-long commitment to exploring discarded and displaced materials, peoples, and landscapes in a time of global climate change,

“Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen” is comprised of Vicuña’s multidisciplinary work in performance, sculpture, drawing, video, text, and site-specific installations created over 40 years. Reframing dematerialization as both a formal consequence of 1960s conceptualism and radical climate change, the exhibition examines a process that shapes public memory and responsibility. Operating fluidly between concept and craft, text and textile, Vicuña’s practice merges dissimilar disciplines and communities with shared relationships to land and sea, and to the economic and environmental disparities of the 21st century.

CECILIA VICUÑA
CECILIA VICUÑA

Vicuña’s work reflects the overlapping dialogs of conceptual art, land art, poetry, and feminist art practices. For the first time in this traveling exhibition, the show will include painting, a practice which Vicuña began in the 1970s and to which she has recently returned – in some cases, repainting lost paintings from memory.  The addition of painting to “Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen” is an affirmation of a practice that exists, in its entirety, in the logic of every single work – and yet – is also, always evolving.

The exhibition will include an expansive presentation of Vicuña’s precario sculptures, which the artist began creating in 1966.  Vicuña assembles these “precarious works” from bits of wood, thread, and other found objects into temporary small sculptures that despite their modest scale have a surprising dynamism and energy. The exhibition also features the installation “Burnt Quipu” (2018), in which lengths of dyed wool hang floor to ceiling, connecting earth and sky, in tribute to recent forest fires in the greater West Coast region. “Burnt Quipu” is part of Vicuña’s longstanding artistic exploration of the ancient Andean writing tradition of “talking knots,” an advanced communication system inhibited during colonization.

Born in Santiago de Chile, Vicuña is a poet, visual artist, and filmmaker. She is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, and exhibits and performs internationally. Her multi-dimensional works begin as an image that becomes a poem, a film, a song, a sculpture, or a collective performance.

Vicuña’s work is included in the collections of The Tate Gallery, London; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Chile, Santiago, Chile; MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She was appointed Messenger Lecturer 2015 at Cornell University, an honor bestowed on authors who contribute to the “Evolution of Civilization for the special purpose of raising the moral standard of our political, business, and social life.” She lives in New York City, where she co-founded oysi.org, a site for the oral cultures and poetries of the world. Vicuña’s work is represented by Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Vicuna’s art has also been featured inDocumenta 14 and shown at Witte de With. She most recently was awarded the CINTAS, a very prestigious United States artist fellowship.

CECILIA VICUÑA
CECILIA VICUÑA

“Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen” is organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC), and co-curated by Andrea Andersson, The Helis Foundation Chief Curator of Visual Arts at the CAC, and Julia Bryan-Wilson, Professor, University of California, Berkeley. Support for this exhibition is provided by Sydney & Walda Besthoff Foundation, The Helis Foundation, The Kabacoff Family Foundation, and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog.

The exhibition at MOCA is made possible, in part, with support from Funding Arts Network and Citizens Interested in the Arts. MOCA’s exhibitions and programs are made possible with the continued support of the North Miami Mayor and Council and the City of North Miami, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

Also on view at MOCA November 26, 2019 – March 29, 2020, a new exhibition featuring works of French-Mexican surrealist painter Alice Rahon (1904–1987). Guest curated by Mexico-City based art historian Tere Arcq, “Poetic Invocations,” marks the first solo show in 55 years dedicated to Rahon’s work in the United States.

He went from nanny to artist. His muse is the men and women who make L.A. work

Another top shelf article by Julia Barajas for the LA Times

When he was a boy in San Bernardino, Ramiro Gómez Jr. shared his dreams of becoming an artist with his grandmother.

From his dreams, he vowed to make hers come true: “When I grow up, I’m going to buy you a house,” he told her.

Gómez — whose parents are Mexican immigrants who once lived in the country illegally — did grow up to be an artist.

Today, his work sells for thousands of dollars. It’s part of museum collections, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He’s been a guest lecturer at UCLA, Duke and Harvard. He has an upcoming show with the Art Dealers Assn. of America in New York. And he just wrapped up another one at the Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles.

His grandmother, however, was not around to see it. She died just as his career as an artist was taking off.

Lately, Gómez has been watching a lot of Harry Potter movies. The films provide him with a sense of respite, “a way to cope with the responsibility on my shoulders,” he said. But when he saw the third film in the series, directed by the Academy Award-winning Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, it left him in emotional shambles.

In it, Gómez explained, the main characters get hold of a “time-turner,” a trinket that enables them to travel through time to alter the past and change the present.

The artist thinks a lot about 2009.

That was the year he dropped out of the California Institute of the Arts — despite his parents’ sacrifices. That was the year he began working at a child-care center and discovered that he enjoyed that more than going to class.

That was the year his now-husband, film editor David Feldman, suggested that he work as a nanny to help make ends meet.

And that was the year he watched his grandmother’s health deteriorate. The year she died of a heart attack.

“That year was hard,” Gómez said. “I felt the full failure.”

From that failure sprang a career whose muse is L.A. and the people who make it work. Literally.

After dropping out of art school, he became a full-time nanny and, while the children he cared for took a nap, he engaged in a quiet rebellion: He pored through his bosses’ discarded lifestyle magazines. Then he inserted figures of the often overlooked domestic workers who make it all possible.

At the Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles’ historic and gentrifying Chinatown, visitors encountered a large green-blue canvas on which a gardener with giant bird wings starts to take flight. His lawnmower and his day-to-day duties are left behind.

Another piece, titled “Ruido,” featured a yard being tended to by a man carrying a leaf blower. The piece, Gómez said, was inspired by actress Julie Newmar, who is best known for her portrayal of Catwoman. When her neighbor in Brentwood refused to stop his Latino gardener from using the machine, the actress spray-painted the Spanish word for “noise” on his wall.

In “After the Fire,” three exhausted firefighters lay to rest beside luxurious outdoor patio furniture, a charred hillside in the background. Beside them, a darker-skinned man in a baseball cap waters the lawn. That piece, Gómez said, was influenced by an article in The Times that details how the owners of million-dollar homes recently failed to communicate with their employees about an evacuation order during a brush fire.

Then there was “West Hollywood Park Nanny,” which, Gómez acknowledged, serves as homage to the women who taught him the ropes of the business, ultimately giving him the confidence to ask for a raise. Seamlessly interweaving English and Spanish, Gómez remembered the other nannies telling him: “Mijo, you speak English, you’re young, you’re strong. ¿Y te están pagando $10 an hour?”

Because laborers are a core part of his subject matter, Gómez is often critiqued as profiting from the toil of others. The artist himself shares this concern and addresses it in his art. In real life, it gets even more complicated. When he received payment for commissioned artwork in West Hollywood, it took him about a month to bring himself to cash the check.

Erika Hirugami, whose company, CuratorLove, places a premium on diversity in the art world, said many of the questions Gómez deals with are often not asked of others.

“The fact that he’s making a living off of his work doesn’t exclude him from the greater narrative,” Hirugami said. “He is going to be questioned for the rest of his career because he’s not a white artist in that larger narrative, but that doesn’t mean that his voice isn’t as important. That just means that he doesn’t fit the mold.”

A decade into his career, Gómez continues to push boundaries with increasingly personal work that builds on questions of labor. His father, Ramiro Gómez Sr., works as a trucker and his mother, María Elena, as a janitor.

At his show at the Charlie James Gallery, “Here, for a Moment” and “My Cousins and Aunt Without My Tío Carlos” touched on the effects of deportation on families. In the former, a woman sobs as a detained man is taken away. In the latter, a man-shaped hole in a family portrait marks the spot where a graduate’s father should have been.

In late December, the artist’s parents traveled from their home in Highland to see their internationally acclaimed son’s exhibit at the gallery.

His mother said she always thought her son would grow up to be a veterinarian because he loved animals and always peppered her with fun animal facts. But when Gómez was a student at Golden Valley Middle School, he entered a drawing contest for the team mascot.

“Well, actually,” she said, “he did so twice.”

Using his name, Gómez submitted an entry in the boys’ division. Then, his cousin Elizabeth submitted another entry, passing off another one of his drawings as her own.

“One might say he cheated,” Gómez’s mother said. With a grin, she added, “But my son won in both categories.”

In the basement of the gallery, a piece titled “Boy Playing While His Parents Are Sleeping,” featured a child clad in a skirt and fairy wings gazing at a couple asleep in an embrace. The piece, Gómez said, speaks to the importance of “finding a little temporary moment to fantasize and play.”

Plus, he said, it’s nice to see your parents resting.

“It’s because of my parents’ labor that I now have this fantasy, this ability to be creative and express myself.”

84043024_2368194343419721_1608635612229795840_n.jpg

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New exhibit coming to Austin: ChingónX Fire

ChingonX Fire: A creative bad ass who chooses to harness a fire within to unapologetically live life on their own terms.

Chingonx Fire is a group exhibit featuring womxn-identifying and non-gender specific fine artists whose artwork is tied to activism, feminism, cultural and gender identity storytelling, environmental protection, and socioeconomic parity.

Curated by April Garcia, her theme, vision, and direction for the exhibit was inspired by the cultural center’s annual event La Mujer, a celebration of womxn, and inspired by the first feminist of the New World, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz.

April Garcia is driven to use the ESB-MACC and Sam Coronado Gallery as a platform to showcase the hard work of the featured artists and to connect with and engage the residents of the Austin community, visitors and tourists. Her aim is to amplify themes of creativity, culture, and inclusivity by utilizing this opportunity to build a creative environment and a safe place that cultivates friendships and meaningful dialogue that honors and highlights the arts and the unique community that comes together to value it.

Opening Reception: April 10th, 2020 6PM – 9PM
in the Sam Z. Coronado Gallery at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.
Exhibit runs through June 13th, 2020

Moments of Reflection and Acceptance: Life of a Disabled Latino Artist

Val Vera with a well-crafted article for Latino Rebels

If art is an expression of the artist, Raul Pizarro’s work can be best described as a multidimensional evolution.

Living with a form of muscular dystrophy, Pizarro reinvents his painting techniques with each physical challenge brought on by the various stages of muscle loss.

“I paint every day, knowing that every ounce of strength I put into applying each brush stroke is the measure of life,” Pizarro told Latino Rebels. “My muscles aren’t vanishing, they are transforming into permanent echoes on canvas.”

Born in Mexicali, México, Pizarro calls Southern California home. Living on the fringe of Los Angeles County, he reflects on his early childhood and introduction to art.

“My parents wanted to make sure we spoke Spanish so it was all I knew at that age,” he recalled. “When I went to school, all the teachers and students spoke English. Because of the language barrier, my teacher would give me paint to keep me busy while the others learned about colors, numbers, and letters. Drawing was my first bridge to others. I drew things I enjoyed like swinging and the other kids would see it and understand. It’s how we would learn to play. This was my first connection to art.”

Pizarro continued drawing through his teenage years but due to the costs of art supplies, did not paint often.

“My parents were struggling to keep us fed, with a warm roof over our heads,” Pizarro said. “I started painting because one of my teachers gave me a box of art supplies. As a young adult, I started to really dedicate myself to art and exploring different ideas and mediums… I was finding my voice.”

Pizarro, 44, is passionate about immigration rights and queer rights. He describes his art as a timeline that varies by series, with his earlier work being experimental.

“It was the time I was coming out as queer to myself and also when I left the church I was raised in,” he said. “It was evangelical and just didn’t make sense to me most of the time, so it took some time to come to terms with that truth. One of my first series is titled “Songs For A Deaf God,” which I worked on for nearly 11 years. It’s structured around identity, [while] a few [others] were about gender, and a few others around mental illness.”

Pizarro’s most recent series is mostly focused on bears. He began painting it for his nephew who was non-verbal until he was three years old. The relationship he has with his nephew is, as he describes, the closest to having a bond to that of with ones own child.

“The paintings in that series are moments where I rediscovered joy through his eyes,” he explained. “Then I began to explore my own truths through the bears. They are important to me as they are both fierce and nurturing. That is what the painting process has been for me as well.”

Art imitating life is natural here. In terms of how Pizarro’s art is reflective of his disability, nearly all of his paintings are tied around how his body is continuously changing. Some more explicit than others.

“There is a painting titled ‘Vínculo’ [Spanish for ‘bond’] that I painted when I was really ashamed about the way my body was starting to look, emaciated with contractures on my limbs,” Pizarro said. “In the painting there are identical beings facing each other with closed eyes, both equally emaciated with one touching the other’s face while the other touches the other’s chest. It was a time when I wanted to connect and heal the way I viewed myself, and accepting my life just as it was.”

Pizarro uses a power wheelchair that has a lift and a custom easel that moves up, down, left, right and tilts towards him with a remote control. When using both the lift and easel, it makes working on larger pieces possible.

“With this set up I’ve been able to create paintings larger than I had before,” Pizarro said. “The largest piece I have worked on is six feet tall.”

Pizarro’s influences are varied with most of them consisting of moments of reflection and acceptance. His nephew and niece are a big influence on the latest bear series.

“Seeing them discover things we’ve forgotten or taken for granted as adults is an unexpected gift,” he noted.

What does Pizarro’s art mean to him?

“My life is art. I leave all of my strength in it, all of my joy, sorrow and truths. I store all of those moments on canvases.”

The Smithsonian Is Opening The First Permanent Latino Gallery In 2021 Highlighting Latino Contributions

This is an oldie from Javier Rojas in 2018 for we are mitú, but still relevant….

 

The Smithsonian Institution is one of the most known museum and research centers celebrating numerous American achievements from all walks of life. Started in 1997, the Smithsonian Latino Center has never had a physical location. According to the website, the center has worked collaboratively with other Smithsonian properties to include temporary exhibits featuring American Latinos and their achievements. That’s all about to change with the announcement that the Smithsonian will open its first gallery focused on the U.S. Latino experience, in the National Museum of American History.

The Molina Family Latino Gallery is set to debut in 2021 and will focus on sharing the stories of Latino communities in the U.S.

The new gallery space will explore Latino identities and include bilingual exhibits exploring the history and contributions of American Latinos. The first exhibit will be called “Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging,” and highlight the various contributions of Latino cultures in North America and their influence around the world. This will mark the first time a permanent gallery space will be offered at the National Museum of American History highlighting the Latino community.

A $10 million donation toward the gallery was made from members of the Molina family, who dedicated the donation in memory of their father, Dr. C. David Molina, the founder of Molina Healthcare.

The gallery will offer visitors many interactive pieces, including a podcast and a forthcoming app.

The gallery will have a distance-learning component where people can learn about Latino history from anywhere through podcasts, a mobile broadcast and a Smithsonian Latino Center app. These are all efforts by the Smithsonian to increase its Latino representation. They will include recent highlights of Latino artists and social issues that affect Latino-Americans.

“Latino history is American history, and we have a responsibility to reflect the stories and experiences of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. today,” Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, said in a statement. “We’ll continue to do that not only through this future gallery, but also through our diverse programmatic, educational and professional development programs, as well as our work to unlock and increase access to Latino content across the Institution.”

The gallery opens up more possibilities to one day have a new museum dedicated to Latinos as a whole.

Many Latino advocates celebrated the announcement of the gallery in hopes that it one day leads to a museum dedicated to Latinos. For years, there’s been a call to create a Latino Museum on the National Mall. Friends of the American Latino Museum (FALM), a non-profit organization, has been key in bringing attention to this. Estuardo Rodriguez, executive director of FALM, says that the African American Museum took a similar route.

“It’s wonderful. This is exactly the road the African American Museum took. They also had a gallery in the American History Museum,” Rodriguez told the Washington Post. “We run on parallel tracks, and we will point to that in our efforts to fundraise and to pass legislation for [a museum].”

The gallery is a huge step forward in terms of not only Latino representation but the acknowledgment of Latino contributions in American history. Diaz hopes the gallery changes perspectives on what it truly means to a Latino in America.

“We want to expand people’s notions of what it means to be Latino,” Diaz said at the ceremonial signing of the donor agreement. “It’s not this homogenous experience. It depends on where you’re from. We want to show how we came together under this big label.”

Go see this Lucha Libre exhibit at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center

If anyone is near Dallas, here’s an exhibit worth checking out. Write up by Rachel Stone for the Oak Cliff Advocate.

Oak Cliff’s own Jose Vargas put together “Lucha Libre 2020,” a group show at the Oak Cliff Cultural Centerthat explores the world of Mexican professional wrestling.

The show opens with a reception from 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. The show is free and runs through Feb. 14.

There are 25 artists in the show.

Next weekend, Saturday, Jan. 18, Waco-based artist Rocío Ramirez will offer a luchador mask-making workshop. Ramirez oversaw all of he masks that were created for the 2006 Jack Black movie “Nacho Libre.” Besides the workshop, she will share stories from her time working on that film.

#LatinxArtsPresente on Capitol Hill in 2020

Applications are open for the NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute 

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures announces a call for applications to participate in the upcoming NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI). The program will gather Latinx artists, cultural workers, and arts advocates in Washington D.C. on April 20-22, 2020, to build advocacy skills in support of the arts, social justice and cultural equity.

Last year, sixteen fellows participated in the program with sessions taking place with Americans for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, the Library of Congress, and Latinx leaders of various Smithsonian institutions. The program itself was created in 2010 out of a necessity to engage policy makers on issues that matter most to our communities.

This year’s ALI represents a milestone for the organization. “The tenth edition of the ALI is a powerful opportunity as the country enters 2020, a highly contested election year. With the rhetoric and policies against our communities, it is more important now than ever that we’re present on the Hill,” said NALAC Director of Programs Adriana Rios.

The program is led by faculty members Rosalba Rolón (Pregones Theater + Puerto Rican Traveling Theater), Abel López (GALA Hispanic Theatre) and María López de León (NALAC) who guide a curriculum based on developing the capacity and potential of artists and cultural workers to shape arts policy at all levels.

All US and Puerto Rico-based artists, administrators and cultural workers are invited to apply. While the program is presented through the lens of Latinx arts and cultures, participants from all backgrounds are welcome.

Interested applicants should apply by January 23, 2020. An informational webinar will be hosted January 7, 2020. More information and complete program Guidelines are available online at https://nalac.org/leadership/advocacy-leadership-institute/