Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In this candid interview in Abrazo, Chicago-based Chicano sculptor Alex Garza discusses his development and process, and voices his thoughts on public art and the Chicano community. Garza reflects on his involvement with ALBA (Association of the Latin Brotherhood of Artists) and its efforts to bring art, particularly sculpture, to the Latino community, while at the same time breaking down nationalist barriers and encouraging collaboration. Acknowledging how politicized Chicago artists tended to be, Garza says he would welcome a greater focus on artistic productivity and less on politics. As for the contemporary mural movement, he advocates more spontaneity, and new themes and styles for expressing them. Moreover, Garza would like to see more work by female artists. He ends by describing how his work is invigorated by the process of carving stone and the experience of living on Chicago’s ethnically diverse north side.

Annotations

This interview with the Chicago-based Chicano sculptor Alex Garza was conducted by Victor Alejandro Sorell, co-editor of Abrazo, and appeared in the summer 1979 issue. In this text, Garza challenges Latino artists to update their concept of public art, noting that, by the late 1970s, the political themes of murals felt outdated and rote. He also advocates for the use of sculpture as public art in urban Latino communities, discusses the limits of minimalist sculpture to elicit emotional responses in viewers, and praises the work of Claus Oldenburg.

Researcher
Victor Sorell; Harper Montgomery, collaborator
Team
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, USA
Credit
Courtesy of MARCH Abrazo Press, MARCH Inc.,Chicago, IL