Artes Visuales (México D.F., Mexico). -- no. 29 (Jun. 1981)
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Charlotte Moser points out the efflorescence of Chicano art in Texas in the 1970s and how this decade saw the formation of a generation of college-educated Chicano artists; the foundation of Chicano art centers and exhibitions spaces; and the formation of exhibition and advocacy groups, such as the San Antonio group Con Safo, founded in 1972. Major exhibitions of Chicano art at mainstream museums in Texas helped introduce other art venues in the state to this work. Nevertheless, the exhibition of Chicano art in mainstream venues decreased after 1978, as did the amount of aesthetic political activity by the artists themselves. This historical moment is also marked by a change in the theorization of art by Texas Chicanos, namely in that Tejano art distinguishes from art by other Chicano and Latino artists living elsewhere in both its aesthetic and political qualities. Moser adumbrates the primary critical assessments of Tejano art, focusing on how the politics of the work and its articulation of a regional Chicano cultural identity characterized.
In this essay by a former art critic of the Houston Chronicle newspaper in Texas, Charlotte Moser presents a concise summary of the history of Texas Chicano (Tejano) art over a ten-year period of great activity in the 1970s. She was one of the few art critics to review Chicano artists and so was in a unique position to write this essay for a bi-national (Mexican-United States) publication. Though focused on urban centers (San Antonio and Houston) and university campi (i.e., University of Texas, Austin, and El Paso), Moser does include key groups and galleries in other more rural regions of the state. Of note is her attention to the role of mainstream museum exhibitions in promoting Tejano art during this growth period, albeit noting its current decline. Aside from providing information on this little known yet significant regional history of Chicano art, the essay contains a wealth of quotes from artists that elucidate this important period of Chicano art in Texas. Given its intended bi-national audience, it also served to underscore the reality of regional differences within Chicano art.