The Mexican Museum: Catalog of Selections From its Collection with Introductions to Mexican and Mexican American Art. -- San Francisco, CA USA : The Mexican Museum, 1981.
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This essay by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto is included in the 1981 catalogue of selected works from the Mexican Museum in San Francisco, California. Ybarra-Frausto presents a historiography documenting the trajectory of Mexican American artistic traditions in the U.S. from the Spanish colonial period through the early-1980s. Ybarra-Frausto divides the history of Mexican American art into two parts: the pre-Chicano period spanning from the sixteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, and the period of Chicano art which begins after 1965. He provides a general overview of the artistic traditions, which influenced Mexican American art in the pre-Chicano period, including the santero tradition (religious art), native textile production, as well as Penitente (a secular religious order/brotherhood), and Euro-American academic art. In the second part of the essay, Ybarra-Frausto underlines the influence of El Movimiento (Chicano political movement that began in the 1960s) on the development of Chicano art, as well as its two main artistic media: poster art and muralism. Ybarra-Frausto briefly mentions the importance of artist collectives and art organizations that were pivotal in the evolution of Chicano art.
Tomás Ybarra-Frausto is an academic who has provided leadership in the area of Chicano art scholarship since the 1970s and who has influenced subsequent generations of disciples. This essay is one of two that precedes the description of the Mexican Museum’s art collection; the other is by the Museum’s Department of Education, Director Nora Wagner, which traces the history of Mexican art from Pre-Columbian through contemporary times. The catalogue was the first publication by the Museum to publicize its art collection after celebrating its fifth anniversary. Instead of only providing information on the Museum’s collection, the Ybarra-Frausto essay provides a scholarly framework that connects Chicano art to the continuum of Mexican and Mexican American art history.