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 essay, art historian Margarita Nieto critiques the tendency to trace the genealogy of Chicano art to Mexican art. She locates the roots of the Chicano art movement and the art organizations that emerged within it to the countercultural expressions and political activism of the 1960s. She stresses some of the key events of this time, emphasizing activism among Chicano students and educators in California, and among the students’ movement in Mexico City. Nieto provides a survey of the Chicano art organizations and arts publications founded in Los Angeles from 1969 to the mid-1970s. Her discussion of Chicano arts collectives in the 1960s and 1970s focuses on a comparison of Los Four and Asco. Nieto also provides an in-depth account of the history of Self-Help Graphics in Los Angeles.
Margarita Nieto is the first art historian to argue that American influences were strong in the work of Los Angeles Chicano artists, citing the Los Four artist collective as a prime example. She credits this influence for their acceptance by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to exhibit their work in 1974. This same recognition of American art connections and influences in Chicano art is also applied to a lengthy discussion of the Los Angeles cultural center and atelier, Self Help Graphics (SHG). The essay includes color reproductions of SHG prints by the following artists: Juana Alicia, Alfredo de Batuc, Gronk, Yolanda Gonzalez, Robert Delgado, Armando Norte, Eloy Torres, Alex Alferov, Leo Limón, Diana Gamboa, Dolores Guerrero-Cruz, Patssi Valdez, Peter Sparrow, Yreina Cervantes, David Botello, Sister Karen Boccalero, Guillermo Bert, Michael Amescua, and José Antonio Aguirre.