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  • ICAA Record ID
    Last will & testament of Carlos Cortéz, 1992 Aug. 25
    [3] leaves
    Other – Other
    Cortéz, Carlos. "Last Will & Testament of Carlos Cortéz," August 25, 1992. Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago.
    artists; wills
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This document is the Last Will and Testament of Carlos Cortez Koyokuikatl, written on August 25, 1992, and signed and witnessed on August 1, 1994. He leaves whatever money remains to his wife/companion, Marianna Drogitis Cortez. Any personal effects his wife does not choose to retain he leaves to the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum with the provision that such material will always be available to future generations. Cortez leaves works in his collection by other artists to the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum or to other similar institutions that the museum deems appropriate, with the proviso that such institutions, indeed, be community galleries or organizations that do not charge admission fees. He leaves his printing press to El Taller Mexicano de Grabado. As for his own artworks, Cortez asks that the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum keep prints and that El Taller Mexicano de Grabado be free to pull prints from the original linoleum blocks and woodblocks. Specifically, the artist asks that, if any of his graphics are selling for more than an ordinary working person could afford, El Taller Mexicano make multiple copies of such works to lower the prices. 


With Carlos Cortez Koyokuikatl’s Last Will and Testament, the artist and activist sought to continue his mission of making his prints accessible to working class people, both by donating his works to institutions that do not charge admissions fees and by granting permission for his woodblock and linoleum cuts to be printed indefinitely. A central figure in the Chicago art community during the second half of the twentieth-century, Cortez Koyokuikatl (1923–2005) was an artist, cartoonist, printmaker, photographer, poet, and political activist. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Cortez’s father was an organizer for the industrial Workers of the World and his mother, who was German, was a socialist and a pacifist. Cortez spent his life in the Midwest, moving to Chicago in 1965. His graphic art addresses Chicano, Latino, and Native American issues, Mexican-American and Latino identity and culture, and workers' rights.

Victor Alejandro Sorell, Gabrielle Toth; Harper Montgomery, collaborator
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, USA