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    The beginnings of Chicano art : introduction / [Jacinto Quirarte]

    Chicano art history : a book of selected readings.-- San Antonio, TX : Research Center for the Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1984.   

    p. 3-4
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Quirarte, Jacinto. "The beginnings of Chicano art : introduction." In Chicano art history : a book of selected readings, 3-4. San Antonio, TX : Research Center for the Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1984.  
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In this essay, Jacinto Quirarte introduces the importance of manifestos when examining the origins of the Chicano movement, and in turn, Chicano art. Manifestos, he asserts, are essential primary documents for understanding the Chicano movement. Quirarte cites various examples of significant manifestos including the following: “El Plan de San Diego,” drafted in 1915 to create a new nation in South Texas; “El Plan de Delano” by the National Farm Workers Association (now the United Farm Workers Union or UFW) in 1965 outlining workers’ rights; “El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán” in 1969 for Chicano unity; “El Plan del Barrio” in 1968, calling for cultural nationalism, better education, housing land reforms, and more Chicano-owned businesses. While the Chicano movement encompassed both urban and rural struggles, Quirarte concludes that all efforts had the common goals of gaining economic and political rights for Chicanos and strengthening Chicano culture. He also addresses manifestos by Chicano art groups and their connection to Mexican muralists of the 1920s.


Jacinto Quirarte is one of the foremost Chicano art historians and one of the earliest to write about Chicano art history, including the groundbreaking book Mexican American Artists published in 1973. The first of its kind, Mexican American Artists prompted a traveling exhibition featuring artworks by the artists featured in the book and its extensive media coverage helped form a national network of Chicano artists. In this introduction on Chicano art history, Quirarte provides a historical context through the use of plans [manifestos] that relate to the political, economic, labor, and student agendas, and thus positions the origins of Chicano art as developing within the Chicano socio-political movement. He also aligns the art-related Chicano manifestos (e.g., “The Brown Papers” by San Antonio’s Con Safo collective) with the Mexican muralists’ manifestos of the 1920s, thereby extending Chicano art into Mexican art history. Published in 1984, Quirarte’s Chicano Art History was the first publication to address Chicano art history from an academic standpoint.

Tere Romo
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Courtesy of Jacinto Quirarte, Helotes, TX