The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This document is a statement by Carlos Almaraz in which it is outlined his approach to his own artistic practice as well as his ambitions for the creation of a broader program of social engagement on the part of Chicano artists. The document alternates between English and Spanish and his language is stream-of-consciousness in style, producing the effect of an impassioned manifesto that urges a fundamental shift in the way in which contemporary art is practiced and received in the USA.
This document by Carlos Almaraz (1941–1989) is both an artist manifesto and artistic artifact. The handwritten bilingual essay, which was printed and distributed as part of his Master of Fine Arts thesis at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, was one of the earliest writings to articulate the nexus between aesthetics and class, art, and politics. This text is representative of Almaraz’s beliefs regarding the role of the Chicano artist in promoting the Chicano Movement’s sociopolitical agenda. It also documents the national farm workers struggle and the international influences—including Marxist ideology and the Cuban Revolution—that had a great impact on his early art production. Almaraz expanded the ideas expressed in this manifesto into a longer English essay published in Chismearte (see doc. no. 845759), a literary and art journal produced by the Concilio de Arte Popular (CAP), a statewide association of California Chicano art centers and collectives. He was the staff designer, secretary and treasurer of the journal. Almaraz was one of the founding members of Los Four, an artist collective that also included Beto de la Rocha, Judithe Hernandez, Gilbert Lujan (Magu), and Frank Romero. They were one of the most influential groups within Chicano art and the first to have an exhibition at a major museum, at LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1974. In the 1980s, Almaraz was able to attain mainstream recognition and gallery success, which continued to flourish even after his death.