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.
In this document, Tim Drescher and Rupert Garcia consider the conditions that influenced the proliferation of mural production by Chicano artists after the start of the Chicano Movement in the late 1960s. It details various thematic and aesthetic concerns addressed by mural artists during this time, such as the turn to an iconographic language informed by an indigenous cultural heritage, as well as the influence of politically motivated contemporary artistic expressions outside of muralism. The authors consider connections between murals created by Chicano artists across the country to underscore the shared interests of these groups particularly how these artists show the relationship between muralism and sociopolitical activism. The article further considers the iconographic language of these murals, many of which utilized politically charged imagery to comment on issues and events of central concern to the Chicano community, the United Farm Workers strike and liberation struggles in other Latin American countries included. Also highlighted is the key role of the figure of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Chicano murals, as well as other female figures used to underscore the importance of women as community leaders and role models. The authors outline specific sources for Chicano murals, notably Mexico’s “Los Tres Grandes” (Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros). However, Drescher and Garcia suggest that community participation played a much larger role in the production of Chicano murals than in those of their Mexican predecessors.
Rupert Garcia (born 1941) is an artist with a long history in the San Francisco Bay Area’s art scene. He participated in the 1968 San Francisco State University student strike and the establishment of the Galeria de la Raza in 1970, and was one of the founders and masters of the Chicano poster art movement. Beginning with his UC Berkeley master’s thesis, Garcia has written extensively on Mexican and Chicano muralism. In turn, Tim Drescher is a San Francisco Bay Area writer who has photographed and has also written and lectured on contemporary U.S. murals. This document includes several images of murals by key artists and artist collectives from throughout the U.S., including Mario Castillo (Chicago, Illinois), Antonio Bernal (Del Rey, California), Los Artes Guadalupanos de Aztlán (Santa Fe, New Mexico), Willie Herrón (Los Angeles, California), Mujeres Muralistas (San Francisco, California), and Cityarts Workshop (New York, New York). The essay is one of the earliest articulations of the differences—not just the similarities—between Mexican and Chicano muralism.