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 by Jacinto Quirarte begins by proposing possible definitions for the terms “Hispanic” and “aesthetic” and their potential implications for a study of Chicano art. Quirarte states that the focus of his essay is an exploration of the common goals and approaches among Chicano artists, for the purpose of defining a cohesive Chicano aesthetic and its origins. He suggests that much of Chicano art underscores an interest in the instrumentality and didactic potential of artworks, citing murals, poetry, and theatre as primary examples of this. The essay posits Chicano culture as a product of the European conquest of Mexico, noting the central importance of a native heritage in the formation of many Chicanos’ cultural identities. Quirarte notes in particular the ways in which contemporary views on art within the Chicano community reflect and parallel those held by pre-Colombian peoples, particularly the Aztecs. Following this, he outlines the ways in which this cultural heritage has been manifested in various realms of Chicano artistic production, including the visual and the performing arts, as well as in literature.
Jacinto Quirarte is one of the foremost Chicano art historians and one of the earliest to write about Chicano art history, including the groundbreaking book Mexican American Artists, published in 1973. The first of its kind, Mexican American Artists prompted a traveling exhibition featuring artworks by the artists featured in the book and its extensive media coverage helped form a national network of Chicano artists. This essay was included in a publication he edited for the Research Center for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas in San Antonio, which he directed. The publication, much like Quirarte’s essay, sought to provide a definition for a “Hispanic American” aesthetic. Noteworthy are his incorporation of other cultural manifestations (i.e., literature, theatre, and poetry) and the inclusion of a short, yet very helpful, glossary of terms used in the essay.