Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This handwritten journal excerpt from Carlos Almaraz has a compilation of notes on his thoughts about the potential Marxism of Andy Warhol’s artistic practice. He suggests that Warhol’s work displays Marxist tendencies in its seriality, which Almaraz sees as breaking what he calls the “bourgeois rule” of art that demands it be unique and individual. He thus discusses Warhol’s approach in relationship to other practices that he sees as embracing similar tendencies, including the poetry of Chairman Mao and Process art, as well as certain developments that came out of the workshop of [Flemish painter Peter Paul] Rubens. Therefore, Almaraz situates Warhol within a cultural legacy different from that in which he is most often considered.

Annotations

Even though Carlos Almaraz (1941–1989) was never a widely published author, he was a dedicated journal writer. This “Record Book” journal entry was made by Carlos Almaraz in April 1973, after he had returned to Los Angeles. Handwritten, but with typed statements glued to it, this entry provides a glimpse into his beliefs regarding the role of artists in society, especially within the context of the mainstream art world. It also reflects the impact of international influences, including Mao Tse-Tung’s poetry, Marxist ideology, and the Cuban Revolution on his early art production. 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] the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 1974. In the 1980s, Almaraz was able to attain mainstream recognition and gallery success, which continued even beyond his death.

Researcher
Romo
Team
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Credit
© The Carlos Almaraz Estate, 2012