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 handwritten excerpt from the journal of Carlos Almaraz in which he discusses what he sees as the problem of “art for art’s sake” and the ways in which this kind of artistic outlook prevents certain sectors of society from being able to appreciate and care about much of contemporary art. He compares the respective practices of Vito Acconci and Andy Warhol, arguing that, on the surface, Acconci’s works require a much greater time commitment in order to be understood than do those of Warhol; therefore, most people cannot afford such a luxury. Almaraz argues that in order to be effective, art should be easily legible by a broad audience so that much Conceptual art is ineffective because it is only accessible to a small minority of people whose specific education allows them access to such proposals.
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 May 1973, after he had returned to Los Angeles. 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 Chicano Art groups and the first to have an exhibition 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.