l.a. Xicanoartistic conventions with a bicultural aesthetic synthesis. They pursued artistic careers, pushing themselves artistically as well as personally, in order to fulfill their - [PDF Document] (2024)

l.a. Xicanoartistic conventions with a bicultural aesthetic synthesis. They pursued artistic careers, pushing themselves artistically as well as personally, in order to fulfill their - [PDF Document] (1)

uCla Chicano studies research Center PressLos Angeles2011

art along the HyphenThe Mexican-American Generation

Autry National Center

icons of the invisible Oscar Castillo

Fowler Museum at UCLA

Mapping another l.a. The Chicano Art Movement

Fowler Museum at UCLA

Mural remix Sandra de la Loza

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

l.a. Xicanoedited by Chon A. NoriegaTerezita Romo andPilar Tompkins Rivas

l.a. Xicanoartistic conventions with a bicultural aesthetic synthesis. They pursued artistic careers, pushing themselves artistically as well as personally, in order to fulfill their - [PDF Document] (2)

roBErto CHaVEz Ladies Art Class, Sawtelle, 1967 Oil on canvas 50 × 60 inches

l.a. Xicanoartistic conventions with a bicultural aesthetic synthesis. They pursued artistic careers, pushing themselves artistically as well as personally, in order to fulfill their - [PDF Document] (3)


Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

Terezita Romo

in 1952, tHE LoS AngeLeS TimeS ran an oBituarY for Hernando

G. Villa, who died on May 7 at the age of seventy. The obituary

cited his forty-four years as an artist for the Santa Fe Railway

and his decade-long tenure as a teacher at the Los Angeles School

of Art and Design. It also included Villa’s beginnings as a black-

smith’s apprentice who “shod horses for the livery stable of the

late William H. Pierce, then Lincoln Heights Councilman and livery

stable owner, and later cofounder of Pierce Bros.”1 The Times did

not, however, cite either his creation of the iconic The Chief,

which became the symbol of the Santa Fe Railroad, or the auction

record set in 1907 by his painting Bolero (ca. 1906) (p. 105). Nor did

it mention that Villa exhibited his paintings extensively, including

at the Academy of Western Painters in the mid-1930s.2 Indeed,

Villa’s myriad accomplishments during the course of his prolific

and successful fifty-year career as an illustrator, draughtsman,

muralist, and painter were largely omitted from the final official

record of his life.

Within American art history, there are other Mexican-

descent artists such as Villa who carved out niches for them-

selves, excelling at their craft but also forging paths that

expanded on artistic trajectories of the time and that countered

artistic conventions with a bicultural aesthetic synthesis. They

pursued artistic careers, pushing themselves artistically as

well as personally, in order to fulfill their dreams of becoming

successful artists. However, the majority of these Mexican

American artists have been all but erased from the mainstream

art canon, rendered nonexistent within public art institutions

and absent from art school curricula. Focusing on the period

1945–1980, the exhibition Art Along the Hyphen: The Mexican-

American Generation presents the work of six Mexican

American artists who contributed to the emerging California

iconography as well as to the national imaginary. Documenting

an overlooked yet significant tributary within the emergence

of modern art in Los Angeles, the exhibition focuses on the

artwork of Villa (1881–1952), Alberto Valdés (1918–1998), Domingo

Ulloa (1919–1997), Roberto Chavez (1932– ), Dora De Larios

(1933– ), and Eduardo Carrillo (1937–1997). With an emphasis

on painting and sculpture, the exhibition explores each artist’s

dialogue with the various art movements of the twentieth

century as refracted through cultural heritage, local observation,

and social commentary.

Though the exhibition is by no means comprehensive, the

six featured artists are nonetheless representative of a seminal

period in American art after World War II. During that pivotal

time, Los Angeles artists initiated their own aesthetic responses

to the artistic trends emanating from the de facto art center

of New York, such as abstraction, surrealism, and expressionism.

Art historian Susan Landauer argues that although California

artists “had counterparts on the East Coast and in Europe,

their art was by no means imitative or hom*ogeneous.”3 By the

1960s Los Angeles had contributed to American art a gritty

style of assemblage and sleek school of painting known as the

Los Angeles Look (or Finish Fetish), as well as a descendant

movement called Light and Space art. In addition, California

clay artists moved ceramics from craft into art.4 Within this

artistic environment, Mexican American artists melded aesthetic

and cultural influences into an artistic synthesis that would not

only define them but also facilitate the flowering that would be

the Chicano art movement of the late 1960s and 1970s.

The artistic accomplishments of these Mexican American

artists were realized against a backdrop of significant social

and political changes. As noted by art historian Margarita

Nieto, the accepting artistic milieu in Los Angeles that Mexican

and Mexican American artists encountered during the 1920s

and 1930s dissipated after World War II. “Incidents such as the

Zoot-suit riots and the Sleepy Lagoon murder case helped to

eradicate the goodwill established during two decades of cross-

cultural influences.”5 The physical fragmentation of Los Angeles

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4 Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

communities by the proliferation of “white flight” suburbs

and by freeways that carved neighborhoods into racial and

economic ghettos also informed the personal histories of

these artists. In the midst of this, Mexican American artists

pursued professional artistic careers utilizing the mainstream

vehicles of art schools, studios, galleries, and museum

exhibitions. Much like their non–Mexican American counterparts,

they, too, sought to make a living from art sales and reap the

critical support of art reviewers and critics. They attained

various levels of economic success, as reflected by the six

artists in the exhibition, yet mainstream critical attention was

fleeting at best.

Though the careers of Carrillo, Chavez, De Larios, Ulloa,

Valdés, and Villa constitute individual stories of struggle and

attainment, they also illustrate the multiplicity of aesthetic

responses present within the Mexican American artist

community. Even though all six attended art schools, thus

drawing their initial inspiration and iconography from a classical

Western European canon, there is no overarching style or

movement connecting them. Their artworks reflect or react to

the prevalent art styles and movements of the day. As expressed

by scholars Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and Shifra Goldman, there

was a “difference between the isolated conditions of Mexican-

American artists prior to 1965 in contrast to the sense of a

movement in the Chicano era, and…of a national movement

with shared precepts and iconography.”6 However, each of

the six artists incorporated aspects of Southern California’s

marginalized environment and his or her Mexican heritage into

a distinctive artistic expression that drew from abstraction,

figuration, surrealism, and social realism. In the case of

ceramicist De Larios, her work moved clay further into the

realm of art. Thus, although the exhibition serves as a

testament to their individual artistic accomplishments, it is

also a historical documentation of the “Mexican American

generation” artists’ contributions to the aesthetic vitality

of Los Angeles art.

HErnando G. Villa Hernando G. Villa’s five-decade career exemplifies the height of

financial success and critical acclaim that was achieved by a

Mexican American artist in the first half of the twentieth century

(fig. 1). His life also serves as a bridge for understanding the social

environment faced by post–World War II artists. Villa’s parents,

Miguel and Esequia, emigrated from Baja California in 1846—two

years before Alta California was annexed by the United States.

Villa was born in 1881 in an adobe house at Sixth and Spring

Streets, a part of Los Angeles then known as the “Mexican

section.”7 Villa’s interest in art began early in his life, but he did

not attend art school until his twenties, graduating in 1905 from

the prestigious Los Angeles School of Art and Design. According

to Nancy Moure, this institution was at the time “the most

important private art school devoted solely to teaching art.”8

Under the directorship of its founder, Louisa Garden MacLeod,

the school offered a wide variety of classes, including drawing,

painting, woodcarving, photography, and cartooning. It also

became an artistic center, hosting lectures, exhibitions, monthly

receptions, and art club meetings. Later in his life, Villa would

have the distinction of becoming an instructor at the Los Angeles

School of Art and Design, a position he held for ten years.

Upon graduation, Villa set up his studio in the historic

Alameda district. One of his first clients was John J. Byrne,

the Pacific Coast passenger traffic manager for the Santa Fe

Railway. Late in 1905, Villa secured a contract with the Los

Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad.9 Over the course of his career,

his illustrations of rail travel grew in popularity, and he was

contracted to create them for the covers and pages of various

publications, including Pacific Outlook, Town Talk, West Coast

Magazine, and Westways.

Figure 1 Hernando G. Villa in 1905, at the age of twenty-four. The photograph was likely taken on the occasion of his graduation from the Los Angeles School of Art and Design

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5Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

Even as he concentrated on commercial art and illustration,

Villa made time to paint subject matter of personal interest:

the Southern California missions, Native American daily life,

and romantic Spanish scenes (fig. 2). As a result of his mission

paintings, he was recruited by the architectural board to serve

as a consultant for the restoration of the Santa Barbara

Mission.10 One of his earliest accomplishments as an artist

became the subject of a lengthy article published in 1912. A

department store commissioned him to create a watercolor

mural that was described in the Los Angeles Times as “probably

the largest work of the kind ever undertaken in the West.”11

Titled Tourists of the Mission, the painting was 120 feet long

and 12 feet high. Villa focused on Mission San Luis Rey, which

was depicted in its contemporary stage of decay yet populated

by Franciscan friars and California Indians in an idyllic natural

setting. He even added full-size pillars and colonnades in

order to mimic the deteriorated masonry at the mission and

impart an element of realism to his painting.12

In 1915 Villa focused on his interest in Native American

culture for a mural commission at the Palace of Transportation

building at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San

Francisco. Alongside panels with railroad trains, representing

the technological advances that denoted progress, he

featured proud warriors on horseback, including one waving

at the train. The mural Allegory of Transportation serves as

a poignant juxtaposition of two very different cultural tropes

from U.S. history, and not without a sense of irony, given the

railroad’s role in accelerating the decline of the Native

American way of life. In Villa’s artistic interpretation, the

Native peoples welcome this symbol of “progress” with stoic

acceptance and a noble stance. The public response to the

mural was very favorable, and after garnering the requisite

points from the review committee, Villa received the Gold Medal

for Mural Decoration. Thereafter, Native Americans would

constitute a major iconographic reservoir for Villa’s art.

After his success in San Francisco, Villa embarked on a

year of study in England and Germany. Upon returning to his

Los Angeles studio, he was enlisted to teach at the Los Angeles

School of Art and Design. However, Villa still found time to

paint a number of murals, including one at the entrance of

Tally’s New Broadway Theater in Los Angeles in 1916; one on

the dome of the New Rialto Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1921;

and a multipaneled mural, titled The Pioneers, at the Citizens

Trust and Savings Bank (formerly on Hill Street) in Los Angeles

in 1926.

It was Villa’s creation of The Chief that brought him national

recognition and an association with the Santa Fe Railway that

lasted over four decades (fig. 3). Though the details are not

known, he began working with the railway in 1928, two years

after it had launched a deluxe limited train service dubbed

“The Chief.” Reportedly, the Los Angeles ad manager, H. D. Dodge,

discovered Villa while attending an exhibition of his work.

Commissioned to create an emblem for the company’s train,

Villa produced a design that underwent several revisions over

a three-year period before it was approved. Villa had a lifelong

fascination with Native American culture, and he followed

through on his interests with careful research. As he

commented, “Before drawing a line I spent six months with the

Arapahoes, studying them and learning their ways.”13 Villa also

traveled to Taos and Acoma in New Mexico. Over the subsequent

years, the logo was updated and became more stylized, but it

never lost its impact. The Los Angeles Saturday Night art critic,

Prudence Woollett, called Villa a genius, stating, “The Chief’s

finely feathered head is thrown back in an air of confidence that

accurately conveys an idea of earned supremacy.”14 Like the

critics, the public responded favorably to Villa’s Santa Fe

poster designs, and the advertisers continued to use them

until 1971, when Santa Fe ceased its passenger-carrying business.

Although commercial art provided a steady income, Villa

continued to draw and paint other subjects of interest, especially

Mexican and Spanish themes. Over the course of his success-

ful career as a painter, he was increasingly referred to as a

“Californio” or “Spanish-Californio,” even though his parents

were born in Mexico. Californios were descendants of the

Spanish/Mexican families that had received land grants when

the territory was ruled by the Viceroyalty of New Spain in

Mexico City.15 Claims to an idealized California past predicated

Figure 2

HErnando G. Villa mission Ruins, 1920 Oil on board 11 × 14 inches

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Figure 3

HErnando G. Villa The Chief, 1930 Offset poster 41 × 27 inches

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7Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

señoritas, musicians, and dancers, many times set within

nostalgic scenes from the Californio era.

He even recast the image of the soldier’s pinup girl into

his signature Spanish señorita in 1945 (fig. 4). According to Villa,

“I heartily endorse the pin-up girl that has been of such great

psychological importance as a morale booster for our service

men. But the time has come for a universal symbol embodying

the spirit of womanhood as played in this and all wars.”21 With

Chicago actress Patti Powers as his model, Villa painted the

señorita against a dark background that sets off the luscious

red of her dress and glowing white of her mantilla, which flows

from a Spanish comb. In a flirtatious pose—one arm on her hip,

the other holding her skirt and a fan, her eyes glancing

sideways, a half smile on her lips—Villa’s señorita successfully

merged the mystery of Goya’s Maja portraits with the

contemporary allure of poster girls à la Rita Hayworth.

However, Villa never abandoned “Mexican” subject matter,

choosing to return to it sporadically with paintings of Mexican

town squares with their churches, shops, and inhabitants.

alBErto ValdésAlberto Valdés is representative of the Mexican American painters

who did not seek a public artistic career but instead chose to

paint for the sheer joy of it (fig. 5). Although he was as prolific

as Villa, if not for his nephew David Valdés, who saved much of

Alberto’s art from destruction, we would not have the hundreds

of paintings that serve as a substantial body of his work. They

reveal the talents of an artist who relished experimentation,

excelled at abstraction, and was fearless in his love affair with the

very act of painting. According to Valdés’s nephew, “He was driven

to paint. It was that simple.”22

Alberto Valdés was born in 1918 in El Paso, Texas, but moved

with his family to Boyle Heights, on the east side of Los Angeles,

before he was two years old. After graduating from Lincoln

High School, he decided to pursue a career as a commercial

artist and won a scholarship to attend Harper’s School of Art.

The award letter to the school proclaimed, “His work is

outstanding…. You should be proud of Mr. Valdés, for we have

great faith in his ability.”23 As a commercial artist, Valdés

specialized in magazine advertisem*nts, outdoor billboards,

and orange-crate labels. His career was interrupted by his

service in the Army during World War II, when he was stationed

in France and Italy. Upon his return, he found a position at

MGM Studios as an art designer on contract. There he designed

movie sets until he retired in his forties. Afterward he

concentrated on painting, only occasionally taking design

commissions to support himself.24

on racial purity and economic elite status became part of

a “fantasy heritage” that was crafted in large part by Anglo

Americans hoping to cash in on the romantic appeal of

“rancho life” plays (such as Ramona) and mission revival

architecture.16 This also allowed Anglo Americans to sanitize

the more recent Mexican history of Los Angeles. At the same

time, given the lower social and economic status of Mexicans

in Los Angeles, especially during the nineteenth and early

twentieth centuries, it was to their advantage to go along with

the fantasy heritage that allowed light-skinned Mexicans, at

least, to soften if not entirely avoid the racism of the time.17

Although it is not clear whether Villa originally identified

himself as a Californio, it is very apparent that those who

wrote about him or his art accepted this false lineage. In the

Rio Grande Review published in August 1929, the writer went

so far as to describe Villa as “a descendant of a pioneer Los

Angeles Spanish family,” even though his parents had been

born in Baja California.18 In 1934 an art critic for the Los Angeles

Evening Herald-Express, Alma May Cook, declared that Villa

“may well be termed a native son, for his parents came to the

little pueblo of Los Angeles as children in 1846.”19 Villa also

began to dress as a Spaniard, sporting the iconic brimmed hat

of flamenco dancers. A newspaper cartoon in 1924 by the

Evening Herald staff artist, Wyn Barden, depicted Villa in “his

authentic bull fighting costume” for the International Artists’

Night of All Nations fete.20 Whatever his motivation, Villa

became known for his paintings of Spanish gentlemen,

Figure 4 HErnando G. Villa Untitled (Woman with White Mantilla), 1945 Oil on canvas 56 × 43 inches

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8 Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

Figure 5 alBErto Valdés Self Portrait, ca. 1960 Gold leaf and ink on canvas 11⁹ 8 × 11 inches

The 1960s saw the beginning of Valdés’s artistic

productivity, which would span four decades and encompass

a wide range of styles, from pure abstraction to enigmatic

forms. A consummate experimenter, Valdés worked in series,

painting several paintings at the same time until he was ready

to move on to another artistic style or genre. He would immerse

himself in painting all day, stopping only to eat. A self-taught

artist, he devoured art books and magazines from Europe and

Mexico as well as the United States. As a result, he was exposed

to myriad influences ranging from pre-Columbian art to various

masters, including Caravaggio, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso,

Rufino Tamayo, and Ricardo Martínez.25

Valdés’s early paintings exemplify his love of color and his

experimentation with the medium. In an untitled acrylic on

watercolor paper (ca. 1960), one can discern what looks like

a large flower, its stem and petals formed by different

overlapping shapes (fig. 6). A sense of texture is created by

the subtle differentiation of various hues of the same color.

The overall visual effect is one of bright and sensual colors

competing for attention as they extend forward and retreat

back into the picture frame. Apparent in this simple painting

is Valdés’s interest in mixing colors and transforming them

into interlocking forms. One suspects that his creation of the

flower was a pleasant surprise, one that he discovered only

when he finished it.

In a subsequent series, figures seem to emerge from

abstraction. The painting Old Man (1969) is rendered in various

shades of blue, with a semidefined figure of a bearded man in

the center of the frame, hunching over with arms outstretched

(fig. 7). A white circular form in the upper right corner

symbolizes a celestial body. In a hazy form above the man’s

face are the barely discernible outlines of an eagle and a turtle.

Another cloaked figure is seen standing next to the old man.

The small blasts of color on the man’s fingertips add to the

visual appeal in an otherwise cool blue palette. Replete with

mystical symbolism, the painting brings together the winged

eagle and earthbound turtle to make a spiritual statement

regarding the interrelatedness of man and nature. In this

masterful use of almost transparent figures within an abstract

composition, Valdés created layers of meaning, utilizing

minimal shapes to transmit a complex concept.

Valdés’s interest in Tamayo and Martínez is especially

evident in his artwork from the 1970s. A contemporary of Los

Tres Grandes (José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David

Alfaro Siqueiros), Tamayo refuted the social realism and

politically charged work of the master muralists. Though he

shared Tamayo’s love for pre-Columbian iconography, Martínez

“achieved unreal atmospheres in his works by using plays of

light and condensations of paint,” which impressed Valdés

immensely.26 Saturated color and clean interlocking forms are

the focus of Valdés’s painting from around 1980, Don Pela

Gallos (fig. 8). The painting is reminiscent of work by Tamayo

and Martínez, but Valdés added his own distinctive composition

and use of color. Evocative of pre-Columbian stone effigies,

the ambiguous figure at the center of a rich red background

is part human and animal, yet clearly connected to death. In

a deft application of the paint, Valdés created a sitting figure

with a stylized skull in profile that is equally stately and

menacing. The hand outstretched in the manner of a blessing

suggests a regal or religious pose. Aside from its formidable

image, the painting is replete with artistic experimentation in

the gradual shifts of hues, the subtle handling of interlocking

forms to shape the figure, and the play of light on specific

parts, which accentuates the work’s mysterious, otherworldly

quality and adds depth to an otherwise flat surface.

Valdés viewed the art process as more important than the

product; often he would paint over canvases or throw the

paintings away. Fortunately, his nephew was able to save many

of his paintings from destruction. “I remember pulling up one

day and I was mortified to see a stack of at least ten to fifteen

canvases stacked on top of one another to be thrown in the

trash.”27 Later in his life, as his ideas for painting increased,

Valdés switched from oil to acrylic to minimize the drying time

and allow him to continue painting. His focus on process also

informed his perspective regarding artists and fame. Although

he admired Picasso and considered him brilliant early in his

career, he believed fame had turned him into a “whor*.”

“All he’s doing is just repeating himself to make money,” David

recalled his uncle saying. “I’m not going to get caught in that

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Figure 6 alBErto Valdés Untitled, 1960 Acrylic on watercolor paper 10 × 13 inches

Figure 7 alBErto Valdés old man, 1969 Oil on Masonite 19¼ × 23¼ inches

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10 Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

trap.”28 Pursuing exhibitions also represented a form of artistic

betrayal for Valdés, who did not see the need for outside—

personal or professional—approval. Sadly, in 1998, at the age

of eighty, Valdés committed suicide after being diagnosed

with prostate cancer. But he left behind a substantial body

of work that attests to his technical proficiency and artistic


doMinGo ulloa Even before the civil rights movement took hold in the United

States in the early 1960s, there were artists committed to

promoting social justice through their artwork. According to art

historian Shifra Goldman, for artists working within social realism

it “was not a question of style, but of content.”29 Beginning in the

1930s, amid a worldwide economic depression and looming war,

social realism exposed the excesses of wealth, the brutality of

totalitarian governments, and the failings of societies to safeguard

their vulnerable citizens. One of the most accomplished yet

underrecognized social realists during the 1940s and 1950s was

Domingo Ulloa (fig. 9). Though he exhibited in San Diego and lived

most of his life in El Centro in California’s Imperial Valley, Ulloa

had artistic roots in Los Angeles.

Born in 1919 in Pomona when his family traveled there to

pick fruit, Ulloa spent his formative years in Mexicali, Baja

California. While still in high school, he entered and won an art

competition for a scholarship to study art in Mexico City in

1936. Ironically, while at the famous Academia de San Carlos,

he did not learn about the muralists Orozco, Rivera, and

Siqueiros, but rather was instructed by nonpolitical studio

painters and exposed to the art of Spanish painters Diego

Velásquez, Jusepe de Ribera, Francisco de Zurbarán, Francisco

de Goya, and Picasso.30 He also experienced problems with the

course requirements. “They wanted me to take several courses,”

according to Ulloa, “such as art history, art chemistry, that

sort of thing. I thought it was boring. I only wanted to study

drawing, painting, and anatomy.”31 When he was caught not

taking the minimum number of classes stipulated by the

scholarship, his funding was revoked. Even so, Ulloa remained

at the Academia for two more years, until 1939.

After his return to the United States, Ulloa continued to

create art, but he also began painting houses in order to survive

economically. When World War II broke out, Ulloa joined the

Army and served in Europe from 1942 to 1945. Upon his discharge,

he moved to Los Angeles and used the GI Bill to take classes at

the Jepson Art Institute, a short-lived but important art school.32

It was there that he studied with the influential Italian immigrant

Rico Lebrun.

Lebrun (1900–1964) was a humanist and one of the most

prominent of the post–World War II expressionists. He taught

drawing, printmaking, and painting at Jepson, along with

his protégé Howard Warshaw (1904–1994). Both felt a moral

commitment to depict the horrors of war, and they created an

Figure 8

alBErto Valdés Don Pela gallos, ca. 1980 Acrylic on Arches paper 26 × 20 inches

Figure 9

doMinGo ulloa Self Portrait, 1951 Oil on board 22 × 21 inches

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11Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

art that was certainly courageous, given the dominance of

abstraction.33 According to art historian Susan Landauer, though

abstract expressionism caught on quickly in San Francisco,

Los Angeles became a center for figurative expressionism and

hard-edge abstraction due in large part to “the extraordinary

force of individual personalities,” among them Lebrun and Lorser

Feitelson.34 Always political and moralistic, Lebrun instructed

his students, “If we artists are to survive this period at all,

we will survive it as spokesmen, never again as entertainers.”35

Ulloa’s studies at Jepson included exposure to the Mexican

muralists Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros and the prints produced

at the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP). He even joined a local

print shop modeled after the TGP, where he learned to create

linoleum and woodblock prints. As a result of his academic

and political education at Jepson from 1946 to 1949, Ulloa

developed deep respect for the figure, acute observation

skills, and the technical abilities of a superb draughtsman.

According to Ulloa, this was his “waking-up period,” which he

financed by joining the painters’ union to support his family.36

This combination of academic training and political instruction,

along with Ulloa’s life experiences as a trade unionist, generated

a singular aesthetic that is evident in his prints and paintings.

Ulloa’s linoleum print Painters on Strike (1948) is emblematic

of his aesthetic (fig. 10). Though it certainly references the

work of the TGP and Orozco, the print is personal in that it

was inspired by a seven-week painters’ strike in which Ulloa

participated. On the left side of the image, the strikers hold

signs and gesture toward the large male figure on the right,

who is releasing snakelike figures with male heads and hands

grasping paintbrushes from a large barrel. The cigar hanging

from the figure’s mouth identifies him as the stereotypical

boss. According to Ulloa, the print “shows the company owner

bringing in scabs.”37 Though the print is small, it derives a

monumental quality from its composition. The clean lines

and attention to detail are evidence of the artist’s mastery of

a difficult printmaking technique. Each face has an individual

personality: one can discern a look of fear on the face of the

reptilian strike breaker still in the barrel and determination

on the faces of the strikers who confront the grotesque scene.

Ulloa made clear that the actions of the strike breakers rendered

them inhuman and thus not worthy of support or sympathy.

Even after he completed his studies at Jepson and moved

to El Centro, Ulloa continued to create socially engaged art.38

Racism/Incident at Little Rock (1957) is a painting inspired by

the historic court-ordered desegregation of Central High School

in Little Rock, Arkansas (fig. 11). Six African American children

of various ages are enveloped by an amorphous crowd of

screaming white-robed figures. All the figures have large mouths

full of teeth and dangling uvulas, and some are holding rocks in

their upthrust hands. The nightmarish background contrasts

with the well-defined faces and bodies of the students walking

forward, some with books in hand. All the students have serious

Figure 10 doMinGo ulloa Painters on Strike, 1948 Linoblock print on paper 9 × 12 inches

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Figure 11 doMinGo ulloa Racism/incident at Little Rock, 1957 Acrylic on canvas 33¼ × 47¼ inches

Figure 12 doMinGo ulloa Braceros, 1960 Oil on Masonite 36 × 49 inches

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13Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

dora dE larios For Dora De Larios, the attainment of her artistic goals and creation

of a significant body of work has been nothing short of remarkable

given her background, choice of medium, and gender (fig. 13).

De Larios’s mother, Concha, was four years old when her own

mother brought her to Los Angeles in 1917, having walked from

Durango, Mexico. De Larios’s father, Elpidio, was born in Mexico

City, the son of a business owner. He migrated to the United

States later in his life and secured a job in Los Angeles with Max

Factor, developing color compounds for face makeup. It was

there that he met Concha, who began working for the cosmetics

company at age seventeen.

The family’s early years were spent in the downtown

Temple Street district, close to Silver Lake. The neighborhood

was made up of Mexicans and Nisei (second-generation)

Japanese families. “I thought all the Japanese were Mexicans

from Oaxaca,” recalled De Larios. “They all spoke fluent Spanish

and fit right into everything.”41 Even though she was young at

the time, De Larios still recalls the turmoil surrounding the

relocation process during World War II, when her Japanese

neighbors were taken away and interned in camps. She also

never forgot the feelings of injustice, and she traces her

affinity for Japanese art and culture to those early experiences.

Though she was born in the United States, De Larios’s

Mexican heritage was a major influence. “In my household,

California belonged to Mexico,” she asserts. “We were not part

of the United States. That was the mindset. I lived in a neighbor-

hood where everyone spoke Spanish. That was the attitude at

home. The family had a lot of pride in being Mexican.”42 In

order to maintain their cultural and familial connections, the

family traveled annually to Mexico. It was during one of her

trips to Mexico City that De Larios decided to become an

artist. She was eight years old when her father took the family

to visit the National Museum of Anthropology, which at that

time was located near the Zócalo, or central plaza. “I remember

going down this long, dark hallway. We walked into a room and

saw a light over the Aztec calendar. It took my breath away.

It had an enormous impact on me because I knew that I was

a part of it and it was a part of me. Someday I would do

something as great as that.”43 The visit to the museum also

exposed her to the ceramic art of the Maya, Aztec, and West

Mexico civilizations.

De Larios’s parents nurtured her early interest in art, and

she found willing supporters in other members of her family,

including two uncles who were painters. Upon her graduation

from high school, De Larios’s father convinced her to enroll in

demeanors: two look at the crowd, three peer straight ahead,

and one young woman meets the gaze of the viewer. Through

the combination of surreal environment and realistic figures,

Ulloa created art that captured the emotion and terror of this

traumatic event.

Ulloa’s ability to paint the human figure and address a

social issue came to full fruition in his iconic painting Braceros

(1960), which was based on his visits to a bracero camp in Holtville,

California (fig. 12). The Bracero Program, begun in 1942, was a

temporary, binational effort that brought Mexican nationals to

the United States to work during the labor shortages of World

War II. However, it continued in agriculture after the initial

agreement expired in 1947, and so did the substandard living

conditions of the workers.39 In Ulloa’s painting the focus is on

the men behind a barb-wire fence. The realistically painted

wire and faces pressed against the picture plane afford the

viewer the perspective of being very close to the scene. Ulloa

individualized each face, as if from memory, and some of the

men peer back at the viewer. All the figures wear hats, which

are multiplied as one looks back, giving the feeling of large

numbers of men behind the fence. Visible in the far back is

a row of low houses in disrepair. The men appear corralled

in squalid living conditions, forced to live in wood shacks that

seem unlikely to shield them from the extreme cold and heat

of their environment. In this stark depiction of humanity

treated like cattle, the viewer must confront not only the

iniquities of the Bracero Program but also the conditions of

exploited labor universally.

When Ulloa retired on his Social Security and painters’

union pension, he was able to dedicate himself to his art full

time, filling his home with stacks of paintings until his death in

1997. In the mid-1980s he received critical acknowledgment

as a result of community, university, and commercial gallery

art exhibitions in San Diego, which led to modest sales. In 1993

the California State Assembly honored him by proclaiming

Ulloa the “Father of Chicano Art” in recognition of his artistic

contributions. “Most of my paintings,” he declared, “are inspired

by the common people in their work, in their joy, and their

struggle.”40 Thus, although Ulloa’s artistic training may have

begun in Mexico, his unique experiences at Jepson and as

a member of a labor union shaped him into a universal artist

who created art in service to humanity.

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14 Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

the University of Southern California (USC), where she became

the only Mexican student and the only other student of color

besides Camille Billops, the sculptor and filmmaker. Given her

family’s economic situation, De Larios was limited to six units

per semester the first year. Fortunately, on the advice of a

friend, she applied for and received a full scholarship for the

rest of her studies.

While at USC, De Larios studied with some of the foremost

clay artists and instructors, including Susan Peterson and

Vivika and Otto Heino (fig. 14). Master ceramists known for their

clean lines and distinctive glazes, the Heinos were committed

to producing pieces that were traditional and utilitarian. Of

particular importance to De Larios’s development, the Heinos

were influenced by the Bauhaus movement and by Japanese

pottery. At the same time, ceramists and potters in Los Angeles

were involved in an aesthetic change brought about by the

visit in 1952 of British studio potter Bernard Leach, Japanese

potter Shoji Hamada, and Japanese philosopher Soetsu Yanagi,

who had founded the mingei (folk craft) movement in Japan

over two decades earlier. Their workshops and lectures incited

a controversy “between the perfection of form and the

expressive use of clay that would rage for at least a decade.”44

Along with class instruction, Vivika took students to visit

artists in their studios. One memorable trip was to meet Peter

Voulkos at the Los Angeles County Art Institute (now Otis College

of Art and Design), where De Larios also saw huge clay sculptures

being created by artists Paul Soldner and Henry Takemoto.

“Everyone in my class was very excited. It was such a break from

what had been happening in ceramics.”45 Experiences such as

this led De Larios to major in ceramics with a minor in sculpture,

thus ensuring that she would have the freedom to create from

both traditions. As a result, one can see in De Larios’s work

textural qualities melded with functional forms, creating an

aesthetic distinctly her own.

After her graduation in June 1957, De Larios opened a

studio in Los Angeles, choosing to sell her work directly rather

than depend on galleries. When sales were not forthcoming,

she packed all her pieces in a car and traveled with her

husband up the coast of California. In San Francisco, she recalls,

she insisted on a meeting with the director of Gump’s Gallery

and then “demanded that he look at my work.”46 As a result

of her self-assurance and the quality of her artwork, De Larios

was given an exhibition, which sold out. Her career now

launched, she exhibited and sold her art at Gump’s for several

years, right alongside ceramic notables such as Voulkos and

John Mason.

De Larios has remained steadfast in her art making even

during her tenures as a professor at USC and the University of

California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her dedication to her studio

was matched by her passion for experimenting with the medium

and exploring cultural influences. In 1962 she traveled around

the world, with an extended stay in Japan. According to art

historian Shifra Goldman, De Larios’s favored clay slab technique

owes a debt both to Japanese Haniwa sculpture and to pre-

Columbian Mexican clay figures.47 Her travels abroad allowed

her to expand the early experiences of her multicultural

background into a unique aesthetic.

Examples of this synthesis can be seen in her ceramic

pieces from the late 1950s and early 1960s. In their execution

and composition, Queen and King (figs. 15, 16) draw their

inspiration from the Haniwa tradition that originated in the

mid-second century, in which simple cylindrical forms evolved

into elaborate figures that were left as decorations on the

tombs of nobility. The pair also incorporate aspects of the

Figure 13 dora dE larios Plaque (Self-portrait), 1970s Glazed porcelain 14 × 17 inches

Figure 14 Dora De Larios (center) with teachers Vivika and Otto Heino at the University of Southern California Art Gallery, 1954

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15Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

tomb ceramic traditions of pre-Columbian West Mexico that

were prevalent in the states of Nayarit and Jalisco, and to

a lesser extent in Colima, between 300 BCE and 400 CE.

However, as evident in the figures’ poses, De Larios has

infused a somber tradition with a personal, almost whimsical,

touch that enlivens their demeanor. The Queen and King are

equal partners, as demonstrated by their similar size, stance,

and symmetrical pose with upheld arms. It is apparent that

great attention was paid to crafting the figures, including

the addition of many small decorative details that enhance

their visual appeal.

De Larios’s experimentation led her also to create sculptures

in bronze in the late 1960s. One piece, titled Fallen Warrior

(fig. 17), was made in 1969, after her mother died at age fifty-

four from uterine cancer. The experience of losing her mother

at such a young age was made even more difficult by the initial

misdiagnosis of the illness as a pregnancy. The power of the

piece emanates from the simplicity of the two forms: a small,

lifeless figure is held by a larger male with his head upraised.

There is a monumental quality to the composition despite its

small size (27 inches). In the elongated figures De Larios gestures

toward Giacometti’s sculptures, which became metaphors

for postwar devastation and human despair. Though another

De Larios bronze from this period, Warrior, is more stylized

(fig. 18), both sculptures are stark in their depiction of personal

loss, pain, and anguish. According to De Larios, “The sculptures

made themselves in a way. By that I mean the pain that I was

experiencing in my grief over the loss of my mom had to be as

permanent as metal.”48

In 1977 De Larios was invited to create a dinnerware set

of twelve place settings. The commission was for the White

House, though she didn’t know it. “It was done on purpose.

They wanted each potter to work at their own pace without the

pressure of knowing that it was going to the White House.”49

She was one of fourteen chosen nationwide and the only artist

from Southern California. Aside from the honor, the commission

garnered De Larios national attention, including mentions in

articles in the New York Times and Washington Post. After they

were used at a luncheon for senators’ spouses, the pieces

were exhibited at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and

traveled nationally to other museums. De Larios’s dinner set,

titled Blue Plate Special, showed off her ability to create

Figure 15 dora dE larios Queen, early 1960s Glazed stoneware 29 × 16 × 15 inches

Figure 16 dora dE larios King, early 1960s Glazed stoneware 29 × 18 × 15 inches

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Figure 17 dora dE larios Fallen Warrior, 1969 Bronze 27 × 11 × 5 inches

Figure 18 dora dE larios Warrior, 1969 Bronze 27 × 8 × 4 inches

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17Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

intricate patterns using a cobalt blue glaze over porcelain

(fig. 19). Her mastery of a process of inlaying glazes on porcelain

allowed her to create a free-form style of “painting” on the

circular disks. In its beauty and functionality, the dinnerware

is reminiscent of Spain’s Moorish majolica and Mexican Talavera

ware, as well as reflective of De Larios’s Bauhaus-influenced

training, which put a premium on crafting utilitarian objects

that were also aesthetically pleasing.

Since 1963, De Larios has also created large-scale projects.

That year, she was invited by artist Millard Sheets to join a

group of ceramists to create new designs for Interpace, an

architectural tile manufacturer in Glendale, California. In

addition to working with tile, she was able to incorporate other

materials into her clay work. In 1966 De Larios completed her

first commission for Walt Disney at Disney World in Orlando.50

Over the years, commissions for hotels, banks, hospitals,

libraries, and other community buildings became an integral

component of De Larios’s artistic work. In 1979 she was chosen

to create a mural as a gift to the city of Nagoya, Japan, from

its sister city, Los Angeles. In the process of creating public art,

De Larios developed her role as an “architectural artist,”

working with each project’s architect to ensure that each

commission was integrated as an organic component of the

overall plan for the site.

roBErto CHaVEz Like many other artists of the Mexican American generation,

Roberto Chavez was born to parents who came to Los Angeles

after the Mexican Revolution (fig. 20). His father, José Salazar

Chavez, emigrated in 1920 and a year later arranged for his wife,

Ester, and his mother-in-law, Agustina Vasquez, to join him.

Roberto was born in 1932, one of the middle children in a total

of eight surviving siblings. The family settled in the Maravilla

neighborhood, which was then called Belvedere Gardens. His

father worked at Eastern Iron and Metal Company until his death

in 1944, when Chavez was only twelve years old.

Chavez showed an early fascination with drawing, mainly

cartoons and caricatures. He also loved to create sculptures

from metal scraps, nuts, bolts, and other discarded materials

salvaged by his father. As Chavez recalled, “My first sculptures

were adaptation of breakage—of recycling materials into

little toys.”51 Because of his ability to draw, Chavez received

encouragement from his teacher and fellow students. He was

a quick study in many subjects at school, and thanks to his

sister Victoria’s tutoring, he was able to advance to first grade

after completing only the first half of kindergarten. A similar

promotion occurred again in second grade, and Chavez went

on to earn advanced placement at Belvedere Junior High

School. During junior high school Chavez concentrated on

singing and participated in the glee club, choosing not to take

art classes. It was in high school that he decided to become

an artist after viewing an exhibition of art at the May Company


I was walking by, and in the windows were these paintings,

and one of them was by Georges Braque, and it was very

compelling. I went inside and there were paintings on every

floor, [including] someone’s collection of Renoir still lifes.

It was like they were alive in a way that I may have imagined,

but not ever seen. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

I wanted to make paintings that came alive.52

When it came time to decide on college, Chavez chose

Los Angeles City College and enrolled in the commercial art

program, attending drawing classes the summer after he

graduated from high school. After interrupting his studies in

1952–1954 for military duty, he transferred to UCLA to pursue

an art degree, using funds from the GI Bill. There he studied

painting and drawing with the influential painters William Brice

and Sam Amato and printmaking with John Paul Jones. “They

didn’t insist that you be abstract,” Chavez recalled, “but they

made you aware of it. I feel that I incorporated a lot of what

I learned from studying and appreciating abstract art.”53

Figure 19 dora dE larios Blue Plate Special, 1977 Porcelain dinner plates from twelve place settings commissioned for the White House

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19Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

Painted in the summer of 1957, Masks shows how Chavez

synthesized his love of the figure with his appreciation of abstract

art (fig. 21). Chavez painted it while teaching art, including mask

making, to children in Marin County during a summer break

from UCLA. He enjoyed the construction aspect of creating

masks, which reminded him of his childhood spent making

toys from the recycled items in his father’s shed. Though the

painting was based on the children in the class wearing their

masks, it also reflects Chavez’s preference for a loose, playful

painting style over realistic portrayal. The figures in the painting

are barely there, and clearly the emphasis is on the masks,

which seem to float in front of the students’ bodies in a series

of interlocking shapes. In a further element of playfulness, fish

swim above the figures, some dangling from strings to denote

their origin as an art project. Overall, the painting suggests

the artist’s experimentation with painting techniques, but with-

out a loss of attention to his subject matter: in this case, the

joy of children transforming themselves through their masks.

While at UCLA, Chavez met other art students who would

be influential in his life and work: Louis Lunetta, Eduardo

Carrillo, and Charles Garabedian. Though not in the same year

of study, they all shared a love of painting and adjusted well to

the pedagogy of UCLA. According to Garabedian, “The teachers

were all good. They were all very provocative and they made

it very interesting.”54 Thus, Chavez found not only a supportive

academic structure but also a group of fellow artists who

appreciated figurative art and reveled in experimentation.

Along with painting and drawing, Chavez studied sculpture and

printmaking. Yet painting—and especially portraiture—remained

his focus, as he had come “to trust the human image as a

reflection of myself and of life,” as he wrote in his master’s

thesis. “For I don’t always know what I am painting and revel-

ation is as much a part of my painting as is fulfillment.”55

After obtaining a BA in 1959 and a master’s in 1961, both

in pictorial arts, Chavez applied for a Fulbright fellowship to

travel to Spain.56 Though he did not receive it, he traveled by

car across the United States during the summer. Instead of

painting, he generated hundreds of drawings and watercolors,

mostly landscapes. Upon his return, he began teaching extension

classes at East Los Angeles College and at UCLA. He also

reconnected with former UCLA art students and friends,

including Carrillo, Garabedian, and Lunetta, who were looking

for a venue for a group exhibition. After pursuing a gallery

contact from Edward Kienholz that did not work out, they

received a referral from Eleanor Neil, a conceptual artist who

had also studied at UCLA. She told them about a couple,

Cecil Hedrick and Jerry Jerome, who were looking for artists

to exhibit in their new gallery space on La Cienega Boulevard

called Ceeje Gallery.57 It was the beginning of a relationship

that would last several years. The gallery helped nurture a group

of artists that grew to include Lance Richbourg, Les Biller,

Aron Goldberg, Joan Maffei, Maxwell Hendler, and others

who developed their own distinctive “L.A.” style focused on

the figure.

As a growing number of curators and art historians have

noted, Los Angeles art during the 1960s was not completely

dominated by abstract expressionism. Nor was it closely

aligned only with the homegrown Los Angeles Look (or Finish

Fetish) and Light and Space art movements, both preoccupied

with the region’s landscape and climate.58 There were artists

“working in a highly personal, eccentric, irreverent, somewhat

surreal, deliberately awkward and dynamic figurative style.”59

These artists found a home at Ceeje Gallery, which became

known for exhibiting figurative art, an eclectic mix of “un-cool”

art, and a cross section of Los Angeles’s ethnic and women

artists. Though overshadowed by the media attention paid to

Ferus and Felix Landau Galleries, Ceeje had supported, by the

time it closed in 1970, the careers of many now prominent

artists, carving a place for itself in Los Angeles art history.60

On June 25, 1962, Ceeje Gallery opened with the exhibition

Four Painters: Garabedian/Chavez/Carrillo/Lunetta, which

received very favorable critical response (fig. 22). According

to Artforum’s Arthur Secunda:

It matters little that the reincarnated echoes of Chagall,

Derain, Beckmann, Munch, etc., are well-spiced into the

blazing ragout; what is important is that this ensemble

makes up the most exciting, fiercest, most vital debut of


Figure 20 roBErto CHaVEz Self Portrait with Derby, 1963 Oil on canvas 20 × 16 inches


Figure 21 roBErto CHaVEz masks, 1957 Oil on canvas 60 × 60 inches

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20 Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

any art gallery opening here within recent memory…. I hope

the boys up and down the street take note, and that Ceeje

won’t fade into the general obscurity that has been the

fate of the other new galleries in the past year. Viva Ceeje.61

Los Angeles Times art critic Henry J. Seldis raved about

the exhibition as well, stating that each artist contributed a

work “that offers the sort of magic rarely found since the time

of Blake.” He also declared that the exhibit offered “paintings

that may be the beginning of another significant local style.”62

The picture that ran with Seldis’s review was Chavez’s

The Group Shoe (1962) (fig. 23). Loosely following the group

photograph that was included in the Ceeje exhibition

announcement, Chavez painted the upper torsos of the four

artists behind a table, with a large shoe in the center of the

table. It was a clever play on the word show, which Ceeje co-

owner Jerry Jerome pronounced as “shoe.” “‘It’s going to be

a big shoe!’ Jerry would say,” recalled Chavez. “So I went

home and I did the painting.”63 Serving as a humorous comment

on the excitement surrounding the exhibition, the painting

also revealed Chavez’s developing artistic style. Though still

loose in its painterly execution, the figures are more clearly

articulated than in previous works. Each artist in the picture

projects his individual personality even though they are sitting

side by side, their close physical proximity symbolic of their

personal friendship and artistic alignment.

Chavez was the first artist to receive a solo exhibition at

Ceeje, held from November 6 to December 1 of the same year.

It won critical acclaim, with Seldis applauding his portraits as

having “a true magnetism” within an overall “fascinating

show.”64 In his review for Artforum, Henry Hopkins lauded

Chavez’s style, which he called “spiritual expressionist,” and

compared one of his paintings to Picasso’s pre-cubist works.65

Chavez exhibited in three more Ceeje group exhibitions,

including a sculpture show, and another solo exhibition before

leaving the gallery in 1965. Chavez continued to exhibit his

art at various community venues, taking time off only in the

fall of 1966 to travel with Carrillo to Baja California to help him

establish the Centro de Arte Regional in La Paz.

When Chavez returned in 1967, a friend at UCLA asked

whether he would be interested in teaching private art classes.

Beginning with one student, the class grew until he had to rent

a bigger studio from fellow artist John Coleman. The painting

Ladies Art Class, Sawtelle (1967) is a group portrait of Chavez’s

Westwood students, whom he taught weekly for two years (p. 2).

Along with lovingly depicting each woman, the painting exhibits

all the artistic characteristics that came to constitute Chavez’s

singular style. One can see his attention to individualizing the

people he painted within a very expressionist style. The

painting has the intimacy of a drawing, quickly rendered to

capture the moment. Although the faces are detailed in their

composition and expression, some areas of the painting are

purposely left unfinished, such as the body of the first woman

on the left, which is more gestural than solid. “They became

paint,” Chavez recalled. “I have often consciously and just

intuitively given my work that freshness or even roughness

to remind the viewer that ‘this is just paint.’”66

After teaching extension classes at UCLA, Los Angeles

Trade-Technical College, and East Los Angeles College (ELAC)

for five years, Chavez was hired as a full-time instructor at ELAC

in 1969. His position was divided between the art and Mexican

American studies departments. In 1971 he was appointed

chair of the latter, renamed the Chicano Studies Department,

a position he held for seven years. His experiences within the

department exposed him to the burgeoning Chicano socio-

political movement and to the Mexican muralists, whose work

influenced him, in particular that of José Clemente Orozco.

During his tenure at ELAC, Chavez continued to paint, and he

Figure 22 Exhibition announcement for Four Painters: Garabedian/Chavez/ Carrillo/Lunetta, Ceeje Gallery, 1962 Pictured (left to right) are Louis Lunetta, Roberto Chavez, Eduardo Carrillo, and Charles Garabedian

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Figure 23

roBErto CHaVEz The group Shoe, 1962 Oil on canvas 50 × 60 inches

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22 Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

participated in a variety of early Chicano exhibitions, including

Pocho Art (1969), El Arte de la Raza (1969), Chicano Art at the

Governor’s Office (1975), Chicanarte (1975), and Los Four Plus

One (1977). He also had solo exhibitions at mainstream venues,

including the Santa Monica College Art Gallery (1974), the

Contemporary Art Gallery in Van Nuys (1976), and the Vincent

Price Gallery at ELAC (1978).

In 1974, after painting several murals in the community,

Chavez received a grant from the Los Angeles Community

College District to create a mural on the exterior wall of ELAC’s

Ingalls Auditorium. Titled The Path to Knowledge and the False

University (1975), it measured 35 × 200 feet and took a year

and a half to complete. The mural’s upper section featured

imagery associated with the four obstacles to knowledge

according to Carlos Castaneda’s book The Teachings of Don

Juan: fear, clarity, power, and old age. The imagery included

tanks, chiles, the sun, and Chavez’s depiction of hell. The bottom

section of the mural referenced the third voyage in Jonathan

Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, in which Gulliver lands on the island

of Laputa (a hom*ophone for “whor*” in Spanish), where an

elite group of people pursue esoteric and mindless activities—

Chavez’s “false university.” In this section Chavez incorporated

loose geometric designs and nebulous shapes with direct

reference to the various academic departments on campus.

On September 11, 1979, a week before classes were to

resume, the mural was whitewashed on the authority of ELAC’s

new president, Arturo Avila, who cited the poor condition of

the mural as the reason. “I know not everyone liked the painting,”

recalled Chavez. “But when I did it, I intended it as part of an

educational environment in which the subject matter, the

themes expressed, would raise questions in people’s mind.”67

After fighting for more than a year to repaint the mural, Chavez

resigned his teaching position at ELAC in 1981 and moved to

Fort Bragg in Northern California.68

Eduardo CarrilloEduardo Carrillo was born in Santa Monica, California, in 1937, the

youngest of five children. His parents had emigrated from La Paz,

Baja California, in the early part of the century. After Carrillo’s

father died when he was five, his maternal grandmother came to

live with them, and he developed close ties to his family in Baja,

making annual visits (fig. 24). For both religious and academic

reasons, Carrillo attended Catholic elementary and high schools

in Los Angeles. He recalled, “My first memory of seeing painting,

stained glass and sculpture statuary of religious imagery was in

churches while growing up in Los Angeles.”69 His early religious

training, which included being an altar boy, and the annual visits

to Mexico became important influences on Carrillo’s art. After

high school, Carrillo attended Los Angeles City College and

received an Outstanding Student Award from the Art Department.

In 1956 Carrillo transferred to UCLA, where he studied

with William Brice and Stanton MacDonald-Wright. MacDonald-

Wright became Carrillo’s mentor, meeting with him weekly and

sometimes spending entire afternoons reviewing his paintings.70

In 1960 Carrillo traveled to Spain and studied for a year at the

Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. Along with taking standard

art classes, he created polychrome wood sculptures under the

guidance of Antonio Valle and assisted with the restoration of

a church altar. That year he also diligently studied the paintings

of Hieronymus Bosch, Diego Velásquez, and El Greco at the

Museo del Prado, as well as the work of Giorgio de Chirico.

Along with studies in composition, colors, and subject matter,

Carrillo explored the glazing techniques used by the masters in

an effort to replicate their glow. It was this emphasis on color and

light that would allow Carrillo to craft a unique painting style.71

After returning to UCLA in 1961 to resume his studies,

Carrillo reunited with his fellow artists Chavez, Garabedian,

and Lunetta and exhibited at the Ceeje Gallery the following

year. Spanish Still Life (1961) was one of the paintings included

in the Four Painters: Garabedian/Chavez/Carrillo/Lunetta

exhibition (fig. 25). Prominently featured on the right side of

the composition is a table with a white tablecloth, a corner

Figure 24 Eduardo Carrillo Self Portrait, 1960 Oil on canvas 31 × 29 inches

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23Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

slipping off the picture plane. On top are several objects:

a skull, a mirror, a cross, and a cut melon. Hovering above the

table is the ghostly head of a Spanish man with the collar ruff

typical of the early 1600s. In the foreground is another ghostly

head wearing a red devil mask. The dreamlike landscape seen

through the archway on the left anticipates the surrealistic

compositions that would fascinate Carrillo for the remainder

of the 1960s. In its composition, subject matter, and execution,

Spanish Still Life was a transitional piece in the development

of Carrillo’s signature artistic and cultural synthesis. His early

Catholic schooling, UCLA academic training, study in Spain,

and Mexican heritage are combined in a painting that references

the mestizo altar traditions of Mexico and European vanitas

symbolism, as well as Mexico’s indigenous roots and Spanish

conquest history. In his juxtaposition of objects from the

corporal and spiritual world with scenes from the realm of

dreams and imagination, Carrillo also imbued the painting with

a sense of mysticism.

In 1963, while still a graduate student, Carrillo had a solo

exhibition at Ceeje Gallery that featured his surrealist paintings

along with polychrome sculptures. In her review for Artforum,

Virginia Allen lauded Carrillo’s brilliant colors, which “produce

jewel-tone surfaces of remarkable beauty.” While noting his

other “artist-fantasts” sources (e.g., Bosch), she recognized

his ability to derive his own personal vision “unencumbered

by the specious gifts of history.”72 Upon graduating the following

year, he accepted a position to teach at the University of

California, San Diego Extension. During this period he immersed

himself in surreal experiments on large panels that developed

his proficiency in the use of space. The oil painting Cabin in

the Sky (1965) captures his ability to craft a complex space with

experimental perspectives, creating an exquisite surreal

landscape (fig. 26). The painting offers a view from a courtyard

onto a mountain range that blends into a cloud-filled sky, but

the scene is replete with imaginary and misplaced objects:

a Greco-Roman temple floats in the sky above a valley floor

that includes a large rabbit along with more improbable

inhabitants such as an oversized shell and a tadpole. The

contrast between the architectural elements and the natural

world is equally sharp, as beautifully crafted walls and tunnels

give way to rough, jagged-edged mountains and plateaus.

These surprises were intentional, as Carrillo sought to paint

“calm places, but populated with tiny surprises; if there is a

bomb it has long ago been dropped.”73

Two years later, Carrillo and his wife, Sheila, moved to

Baja California and established the Centro de Arte Regional

in La Paz, which offered classes in weaving, ceramics, and

leatherwork, as well as an outlet for saleable crafts.74 Carrillo

stopped painting and took ceramic pottery classes from

Zapotec potter Daniel Zenteno. “Through my work with these

little clay vessels, I was introduced to Mexican art!” Carrillo

recalled. “The art history classes I had taken at UCLA had not

had time to devote to the work of Rivera, Orozco, or Siqueiros,

much less the pre-Columbian period.”75 The family returned

to Los Angeles in 1969, and Carrillo was able to secure a

teaching position at California State University, Sacramento,

the following year. There he came into contact with influential

faculty members, including Irving Marcus, Jack Ogden, Joseph

Raffael, and the founders of the Royal Chicano Air Force artist

collective, José Montoya and Esteban Villa.

In 1972 Carrillo joined the Art and Humanities Department

at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he received

tenure in 1976 and taught until his death in 1997. Carrillo

credited his years at Santa Cruz with changing the focus of

his artwork to “large, elaborate figure compositions which

were invented rather than drawn from life.”76 An excellent

example from this period was the large, now iconic painting

Las Tropicanas (1972–1973), with its complex figural and symbol-

laden imagery (fig. 27). Described as “the Aztecs meeting Las

Vegas in Los Angeles,” the painting is replete with rich colors,

patterns, and textures, creating a visual experience that demands

multiple viewings.77 There is no easy entry into its imagery, which

begins in the foreground with nude women in various positions

on a balcony overlooking a pyramid-like structure on the left

and a night-time sky with a UFO and a large hummingbird

on the right. In the center, rising above the women, are several

skeletons looming over a huge green iguana. Despite this

profusion of incongruous objects and figures, Carrillo is

meticulous in his rendering of each, and the intricate patterns

of the balcony floor, the iron railing, and the tattoos on one of

Figure 25 Eduardo Carrillo Spanish Still Life, 1961 Oil on canvas 46¼ × 64½ inches

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25Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

the females receive equal attention. As Marcia Tucker, founder

of New York’s New Museum, observed, “His work combines

an extraordinary intensity of color, and a wealth of rich surface

texture with a startlingly luminous, majestic, otherworldly

quality of light.”78

Aside from its technical attributes, the painting is a

successful synthesis of Carrillo’s love of European masters—

in this case, Hieronymus Bosch—and Mexican pre-Columbian

popular art. With the pyramid edifice, skeletons, hummingbird,

and iguana, Carrillo incorporated recognizable images from

Mexico’s pre-Columbian history and cultural heritage. He also

extended the imagery into the psychic realm of dreams and,

in his case, nightmares, with an allusion to attack, violence, and

death. More important, with the mastery of color, tone, and

composition evident in Las Tropicanas, Carrillo achieved his

goal of making paintings that were “timeless, belonging to both

the future and the past.”79 In 1978 the work was included in “Bad”

Painting, an exhibition curated by Tucker at the New Museum.

Like other Mexican American artists active in the 1960s,

Carrillo painted several murals. The first was Four Evangelists,

created within the San Ignacio mission during a visit to Baja

California in 1962.80 In 1970 he joined Sergio Hernandez, Ramses

Noriega, and Saul Solache in painting a mural at UCLA’s Chicano

Library, at that time located in Campbell Hall. While teaching

at Sacramento State in 1971, Carrillo painted a campus mural,

which was painted over in 1976. In 1979 he received a

commission from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works

to create El Grito, which dealt with Father Miguel Hidalgo and

Mexico’s struggle to gain independence from Spain in 1810.

The 8 × 44-foot tile mural was installed in the Placita de Dolores

within the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.81

As a result of his mural research experience, Carrillo decided

to undertake a two-year study of Mexican pre-Columbian art

in 1980, beginning with the ancient artistic roots of his Baja

ancestors. Upon his return in 1982, he embarked on a lengthy

discourse on Chicano art, sponsoring statewide conferences

and exhibitions, collecting audio and video artist interviews,

and initiating a one-hour video project, all under the umbrella

of a multiyear initiative, Califas: Chicano Art and Culture in

California. In the midst of all his projects, Carrillo never

stopped painting and exhibiting, right up until his untimely

death from cancer in 1997.

tHouGH tHE siX artists achieved uneven levels of economic

success and artistic prominence, they all left—and in the case of

De Larios and Chavez, are continuing to leave—their mark within


Figure 26 Eduardo Carrillo Cabin in the Sky, 1965 Oil on panel 72 × 60 inches


Figure 27 Eduardo Carrillo Las Tropicanas, 1972–1973 Oil on panel 7 × 11 feet

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26 Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

art history. In 2003 Ulloa’s art was rediscovered and included in a

major catalog, At Work: The Art of California Labor. Villa’s Bolero

set another auction record in 2007. Even after his death, Carrillo’s

art, life, and legacy continue to inspire through the online

presence of the Museo Eduardo Carrillo. In 2010 the Craft and

Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles presented Sueños/Yume: Fifty

Years of the Art of Dora De Larios, a retrospective exhibition that

was the culmination of a dream for De Larios. (The Spanish

sueños and Japanese yume both mean “dreams.”) Chavez took

an artistic and political stand with his departure from Los Angeles

in 1981, yet he never stopped creating art or participating in

exhibitions. As a testament to Chavez’s impact, images of his

ELAC mural and commentary on the whitewashing controversy

continue to circulate internationally on the Internet,

encouraging future artists to maintain their personal and/or

political convictions.82

All but one of these artists began their careers seeking

mainstream recognition, or at the very least an opportunity

to live from the sale of their artwork. Some found their lives

altered as a result of artistic pressures and the Chicano

Movement. Certainly, Carrillo, Chavez, and Ulloa played a role

as teachers and mentors to an emerging generation of Chicano

artists, but they also used their art to participate in the larger

social protests that defined the 1960s and 1970s. Equally

important, all succeeded in creating an individualized art, a

synthesis of Western art with aspects of their cultural heritage

without sacrificing aesthetic standards. Yet, in producing this

art along the hyphen—blending Mexican heritage with American

art—they have more often than not remained outside the

canonical history for this period. This exhibition offers an

opportunity to look again, closely, at their art and to recognize

their contributions to our American art history.

1 Los Angeles Times, May 9, 1952, A11.

2 Ilene Susan Fort and Michael Quick, American Art: A Catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991), 285.

3 Susan Landauer, “Painting Under the Shadow: California Modernism and the Second World War,” in On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, 1900–1950, ed. Paul J. Karlstrom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 61.

4 Lars Nittve and Cécile Whiting, “Interview with Henry Hopkins,” in Time & Place, vol. 3, Los Angeles 1957–1968 (Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 2008), 62.

5 Margarita Nieto, “Mexican Art and Los Angeles, 1920–1940,” in Karlstrom, On the Edge of America, 134.

6 Shifra M. Goldman and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Arte Chicano: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of Chicano Art, 1965–1981 (Berkeley: Chicano Studies Library Publications Unit, 1985), 27. This historical period was also marked by a growing political activism, as returning American servicemen and servicewomen of Mexican descent refused to acquiesce to discrimination. In Southern California, landmark cases were won to desegregate schools (e.g., Méndez v. Westminster School Dist. of Orange County, 1945), as well as to provide basic civic amenities such as bus service, paved sidewalks, and lighted streets. See Carey McWilliams, North from Mexico: The Spanish-Speaking People of the United States (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968), 280–84.

7 Miguel Villa was an artist who established a studio on the Plaza, and Esequia Acevedo was an amateur singer. Hernando Villa’s two sisters, Luisa and Rosa, became renowned singers, and along with their mother recorded about twenty songs for Charles Lummis. Hernando also sang Mexican and Mexican Californian folk songs and organized concerts in the 1920s. See John Koegel, “Canciones del país: Mexican Musical Life in California After the Gold Rush,” California History 78, no. 3 (1999): 174–75.

8 Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, Loners, Mavericks & Dreamers: Art in Los Angeles Before 1900 (Laguna Beach, CA: Laguna Beach Art Museum, 1993), 48–49. The Los Angeles School of Art and Design began in the city’s business district in 1887 and grew until its own three-story building was constructed across from Westlake Park in 1902. Lynn Zelevansky argues that in the 1920s, the city’s art schools became the “glue that held the Los Angeles art world together,” given the absence of a strong art market and critical press. See Zelevansky, “A Place in the Sun: The Los Angeles Art World and the New Global Context,” in Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity: 1900–2000, ed. Stephanie Barron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susan Fort (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 298.

9 Doris O. Dawdy, Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary, vol. 3, Artists Born Before 1900 (Athens, OH: Swallow Press, 1985), 449.

10 Fort and Quick, American Art, 285.

11 “Charm of Other Days in Romantic Canvas,” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1912, I12.

12 Ibid.

13 Michael E. Zega and John E. Gruber, Travel by Train: The American Railroad Poster, 1870–1950 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002), 77.

14 Michael E. Zega, “Hernando G. Villa and the Chief,” Vintage Rails, no. 11 (1998): 83.

15 The majority of these grants went to families after the missions were secularized, beginning in 1834. A few prominent families built large ranches with an emphasis on raising cattle and horses. After Alta California became part of the United States in 1848, the Californio families lost much of their land through violence, intermarriage, or lack of “legal documents.” See McWilliams, North from Mexico, 51.

16 The term fantasy heritage was introduced in the 1940s by Carey McWilliams in his penetrating look at the myth of the California missions as idyllic havens. It evolved over the decades into a more general claim to pre-U.S. ancestors with

“pure” Spanish blood (sangre pura), an ancestry considered superior to a Mexican’s indigenous or mestizo (mixed-race) heritage.

17 Certain historians have contested the myth of the “fantasy heritage” as one-sided and argue that the Mexican claim to a racially superior Spanish lineage actually developed in colonial Mexico. See F. Arturo Rosales, “‘Fantasy Heritage’ Reexamined: Race and Class in the Writings of the Bandini Family Authors and Other Californios, 1828–1965,” in Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, Volume II, ed. Erlinda Gonzales-Berry and Chuck Tatum (Houston: Arte Público, 1996), 81–104.

18 Rio Grande Review was published by the Rio Grande Oil Company.

19 Alma May Cook, “News of the Art World,” Los Angeles Evening Herald-Express, November 1934, A7.

20 Wyn Barden, “International Artists’ Club Plans ‘Night of All Nations,’” Los Angeles Evening Herald, November 7, 1924, B1.

21 Stephen Romayne, “Noted Artist to Paint Again,” Westlake Post (Los Angeles), July 13, 1945, 1.

22 David Valdés, oral history interview by Terezita Romo, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, August 27, 2010.

23 Letter to Miss Elliott, Harper’s School of Art, Los Angeles, June 15, 1936. Collection of Joan Churchill, Santa Barbara, CA.

24 David Valdés, interview by Terezita Romo, August 27, 2010.

25 Ibid.

26 From the biography of Ricardo (de Hoyos) Martínez on LatinArt.com: An Online Journal of Art and Culture, http://www.latinart.com/faview.cfm?id=154. Rufino Tamayo chose a more individual approach, combining European-influenced abstract art with indigenous (Zapotec) iconographic elements from Oaxaca. While Tamayo is internationally known for his modernist paintings, Ricardo Martínez’s work received less attention. Martínez was born in Mexico City and never received any formal art training. After a period of still-life painting, he became less narrative and more figural in his artwork, a style he continued until his death.

27 David Valdés, interview by Terezita Romo, August 27, 2010.

28 Ibid.

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27Mexican Heritage, american art Six Angeleno Artists

29 “El realismo social no fue cuestión de estilo sino de contenido.” Shifra M. Goldman, “El Arte Social de Domingo Ulloa,” La Comunidad (Sunday supplement of La Opinión, Los Angeles), November 10, 1985, 8.

30 The Academia’s director was Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, and Ulloa’s drawing instructor was Julio Castellanos. As noted by Shifra Goldman, both were members of Los Contemporáneos, a group formed in the 1920s and composed of writers and artists who looked outside Mexico for their artistic inspiration. Ibid., 8.

31 Virginia Horn, “An Undiscovered Master: Domingo Ulloa; An Artist Whose Works Are a True Reflection of Life,” Imperial Valley Press (El Centro, CA), ca. 1987, 57. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto Research Material on Chicano Art, 1967–2008, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, DC.

32 The Jepson Art Institute was founded by artist Herbert Jepson in 1945 and remained open until 1954. It was an important center for experimental figure drawing, aesthetics, and printmaking.

33 Peter Selz, “The Art of Political Engagement,” in Barron, Bernstein, and Fort, Reading California, 340.

34 Landauer, “Painting Under the Shadow,” 62.

35 From the profile of Lebrun on the website of the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University, http://www.sou.edu/sma/exhibitions/permanent-collect3.html.

36 Mark-Elliott Lugo, “El Centro’s Ulloa an Undiscovered Master?,” San Diego Evening Tribune, May 31, 1985, C1.

37 Lincoln Cushing, “Domingo Ulloa: A People’s Artist,” Community Murals 10, no. 1 (1985): 23.

38 Ulloa’s move to El Centro was motivated by a shortage of affordable housing in Los Angeles and the artist’s fear that he would fall victim to the McCarthy-era witch hunt because of his political art. See Lugo, “El Centro’s Ulloa an Undiscovered Master?,” C1.

39 Bracero is derived from the Spanish word for arm (brazo) and means one who works with his arms. The program officially ended in 1964, and, not coincidentally, César Chávez began his union organizing of farmworkers the following year.

40 Cushing, “Domingo Ulloa,” 21.

41 Dora De Larios, oral history interview by Terezita Romo, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, August 24, 2010.

42 Dora De Larios, interview by Camille Billops, November 30, 1984, in Artist & Influence, vol. 4 (New York: Hatch-Billops Collection, 1986), 58.

43 Dora De Larios, interview by Terezita Romo, August 24, 2010.

44 Elaine Levin, “Golden Clay: California Ceramists,” in Yesterday and Tomorrow: California Women Artists, ed. Sylvia Moore (New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1989), 310.

45 Elaine Levin, “Dora De Larios,” Ceramic Monthly 26, no. 8 (1978): 50.

46 Sueños/Yume: Fifty Years of the Art of Dora De Larios, exhibition catalog (Glendale, CA: Huerta Quorum, 2009), 3.

47 Shifra Goldman, “Mujeres de California: Latin American Women Artists,” in Yesterday and Tomorrow: California Women Artists, ed. Sylvia Moore (New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1989), 211.

48 Dora De Larios, e-mail to author, November 3, 2010.

49 Dora De Larios, interview by Terezita Romo, August 24, 2010.

50 Sueños/Yume, 4.

51 Roberto Chavez, oral history interview by Terezita Romo, Chowchilla, CA, May 30, 2010.

52 Ibid.

53 Ibid.

54 Charles Garabedian, oral history interview by Anne Ayers, Los Angeles, August 21–22, 2003, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, DC.

55 Roberto Chavez, “Record of Creative Work in the Field of Painting” (master’s thesis, UCLA, June 1961), 3.

56 At UCLA, Chavez received four scholarships: an Art Council scholarship (1959), the Jerry Wald Award for Graphic Design (1960), a teaching assistantship (1960), and a graduate fellowship (1961).

57 According to Charles Garabedian, “Ellie [Neil] was doing decorative work with them, and down the street from Ceeje was…Joan Ankrum Gallery. One day she had a Morris Broderson show. Broderson was an artist who was very popular in the early ’60s. They had so much work that they needed the two galleries to show all the Broderson work. They asked to rent the Ceeje space while it was still a decorator’s space. All the Broderson work sold…and Jerry and Cecil said, ‘God, we’re in the wrong business.’ So they asked Ellie, ‘Do you know any painters? We want to turn this into a fine arts gallery.’ That was the birth of Ceeje.” See Charles Garabedian, August 21–22, 2003, Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

58 Zelevansky, “A Place in the Sun,” 294.

59 Faith Flam, introduction to Ceeje Revisited, exhibition catalog (Los Angeles: Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 1984), 6.

60 More research is needed on the pivotal role of Ceeje Gallery in Los Angeles, with a view to presenting a more comprehensive and accurate picture of the city’s diverse arts scene during the 1960s and 1970s. Some important curatorial research has been conducted, most notably by Faith Flam in her seminal 1984 exhibition Cejee Revisited at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

61 Arthur Secunda, “Group Show, Ceeje Gallery,” Artforum 1, no. 3 (1962): 6.

62 Henry J. Seldis, “Four Painters Join in Fascinating Exhibit,” Los Angeles Times, July 20, 1962, C6.

63 Roberto Chavez, interview by Terezita Romo, May 30, 2010.

64 Henry J. Seldis, “Unusual Talent Marks Chavez Works,” Los Angeles Times, November 9, 1962.

65 Henry T. Hopkins, “Roberto Chavez, Ceeje Gallery,” Artforum 1, no. 8 (1963): 17.

66 Roberto Chavez, oral history interview by Terezita Romo, Chowchilla, CA, October 20, 2009.

67 Roberto Chavez, “Chicano Muralist Interviewed,” by Carlos Tovar, Nuestra Cosa (Riverside, CA) 8, no. 1 (1979): 7.

68 For a detailed report of the mural whitewashing, community protests, and Chavez’s unsuccessful efforts to restore the work, see Bob Ross and George Lyndon, “The Case of Three California Muralists: Roberto Chavez, Eduardo Carrillo, John Chamberlin,” Arts and Entertainment, July 1981, 15–16.

69 Eduardo Carrillo, “Four x Four Artist Statement,” Santa Cruz Art League, August 3, 1993, on the Museo Eduardo Carrillo website, http://www.museoeduardocarrillo.org/html/biography/ownwords/index.htm.

70 John Fitz Gibbon, California Connections: Sacramento State College, The Early 1970s, exhibition catalog (Sacramento: Sacramento State College, 1982).

71 John Fox, “Ed in Spain,” on the Museo Eduardo Carrillo website, www.museoeduardocarrillo.org/html/biography/remember/edinspain.htm.

72 Virginia Allen, “Ed Carrillo, Ceeje Gallery,” Artforum 2, no. 7 (1964): 48.

73 Eduardo Carrillo, “Record of Creative Work in the Field of Painting” (master’s thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, June 1964), n.p.

74 Peter Selz, Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 174.

75 Eduardo Carrillo, “Narrative Account” (Collection of Museo Eduardo Carrillo, n.d.).

76 Ibid.

77 Roberta Ruiz, “Painting Life,” in Eduardo Carrillo, exhibition catalog (Santa Cruz, CA: Museo Eduardo Carrillo, 2009), 19.

78 Marcia Tucker, “Bad” Painting, exhibition catalog (New York: New Museum, 1978), n.p.

79 Carrillo, “Record of Creative Work in the Field of Painting,” n.p.

80 Eduardo Carrillo, exhibition catalog (Sacramento: Crocker Art Museum, 1986), n.p.

81 The mural was commissioned to complement a replica of the Bell of Dolores, which the Mexican government donated to Los Angeles in 1968. See the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles website, http://www.lamurals.org/MuralFiles/Downtown/FatherHidalgo.html.

82 Chavez produced a twenty-minute video art piece in which he commented on the experience, titled The Execution (1982). It was performed and filmed in Fort Bragg and screened at the 1982 “Califas: Chicano Art and Culture in California” conference in Santa Cruz. Jeff Boice was the videographer.

l.a. Xicanoartistic conventions with a bicultural aesthetic synthesis. They pursued artistic careers, pushing themselves artistically as well as personally, in order to fulfill their - [PDF Document] (2024)


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