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 essay by Sybil Venegas was the introduction to the catalogue of the 1990 exhibition, Image and Identity,which was curated by him and held at the Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. According to Venegas, identity and image have been at the core of Chicano art. She curated this exhibition to explore the ways in which gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and resistance to historical subjugation by both Chicano and Anglo males have influenced Chicana art. Venegas included the work of five Chicana artists who have distinct artistic styles, yet are each involved in the Chicano art movement in Los Angeles: Dolores Guerrero Cruz, Barbara Carrasco, Diane Gamboa, Margaret Garcia, and Laura Aguilar. Venegas’s introduction also includes mini-biographies and a discussion of artwork by each Chicana artist.
Sybil Venegas is one the first art historians to historicize Chicana art. In addition, as one of the few Chicanas involved in art history, she was in a unique position to dispel some of the prevalent gender stereotypes and to put Chicana art on an equal scholarly footing as mainstream art. This introductory essay was for an exhibition that served as a complementary exhibition to the historically-based Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (CARA) at UCLA. Focusing on more recent artwork, Venegas crafted an exhibition that allowed the public to view more complex and current pieces by local Chicana artists, some of which were represented with earlier works in the CARA show. As such, the essay becomes a valuable contribution to a more comprehensive understanding of Chicana art in relationship to mainstream art, and also within the context of Chicano art.