Weitz, Robert L. “Introduction." Hispanic American Art in Chicago. Exh. cat., Chicago State University Gallery: 1980.
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In this text, Robert Weitz introduces an exhibition of Chicano work on view in the gallery of Chicago State University by explaining the motivations behind the show and the parameters of the works included in the exhibition. He begins by emphasizing the at once traditional and innovative nature of the works in the show, as well as their diversity of styles, content, and media. Weitz also points out that the many artists represented in the exhibition have diverse experiences, including different educational and cultural backgrounds. He points out that artists who paint “in the street” and for the milieu of the gallery are included, and that, despite the range of their approaches, “. . . their aesthetics are all drawn from the vocabularies of contemporary art.” Weitz concludes by articulating his belief that the University gallery is an ideal context for thoughtful consideration of these works, which, he anticipates will dispel “shibboleths” about “Hispanic-American” art and culture.
Gallery director Robert Weitz wrote this short text for a pamphlet announcing the exhibition, “Hispanic-American Art in Chicago/Arte Hispano-Americano en Chicago,” which appeared between June 9 and July 16, 1980, at the Chicago State University Gallery. By means of this introductory text, Weitz makes as an effort to challenge and expand not only accepted notions of “Hispanic” art but also of the “Hispanic” cultural experience, more broadly. In addition to emphasizing the diverse nature of the works on view—encompassing, he notes, photography and street art, executed in a broad variety of styles—he also emphasizes the diverse experiences of the artists, which were apparently communicated in the artists’ statements hung within the show itself. Weitz raises the problems of the politics of exclusion and Latino artists’ struggle for cultural representation when he remarks that many of the artists in the show paint “. . . in the streets, due to the inaccessibility of more conventional showcases. . .” He also clearly seeks to demonstrate the diverse and contemporary and current nature of Latino artists’ production, as well as to raise their profile in the context of Chicago’s art scene.