Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

    In this artist communiqué, Judithe Hernández reflects upon her forty-year career as a visual artist dedicated to establishing Chicano art in the American cultural mainstream. Published in 2008, in the Chicano studies journal Aztlán, Hernández relates the challenges of her experience in seeking legitimacy as a marginalized minority artist and as a woman within the male-dominated movement. Yet Hernández also heralds the transformative power of the political and gendered struggle she experienced, emphasizing the responsibility of the artist to serve as a cultural warrior and reshape Western-centric art historical thought. She concludes by advocating for the power of art to communicate universally and encourages artists to connect to their own cultural identity as a source of “imagery, historical memory and intellectual impetus.”


    Judithe Hernández was the only female founding member of Los Four, an artist collective acknowledged for their instrumental role in legitimizing Chicano art during the seventies. The Los Four collective also included Beto de la Rocha, Carlos Almaraz, Gilbert Luján (Magú), and Frank Romero. They were one of the most influential groups within Chicano art and the Los Angeles Mural Movement, and the first to exhibit at a major museum, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 1974. Hernández primarily works in pastel on paper, and consistently portrays the human figure in modes that emphasize themes of universality, struggle and grace. Her contribution to Chicano Art and the city of Los Angeles was recently honored in the volume Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art 1945-1980 (Getty Publications, 2011). She was one of a select group of artists chosen to inaugurate the new América Tropical Interpretive Center—a project organized by The Getty Conservation Center—and was a recipient of the C.O.L.A. Fellowship (City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship) in 2013.