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.
Through an analysis of Consuelo Gonzalez Amezcua’s El mosaico de las aves, art historian Jacinto Quirarte shows how the artist can both draw and depart from conventions of Western and pre-Columbian art. Quirarte argues that—as a double-sided ballpoint pen drawing on cardboard that includes a poem—Amezcua’s piece is comprised of unorthodox materials thus combining image with text and strategies incompatible with post-Renaissance art. Likewise, the double-sided format prevents the piece from being exhibited in a conventional way. He compares the narrative tendencies of her work to pre-Columbian sculpture, whose symbolic system required the carving of sections of stone that would remain hidden from sight. Quirarte believes that while this further subverts the primacy of the image central to Western notions of art, Amezcua’s work, through its personal and emotional nature, also departs from the exigencies and symbolic function of pre-Columbian art.
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 Americans Artists. The first of its kind in 1973, it prompted a traveling exhibition featuring work by the artists included in the book and the extensive media coverage the project garnered helped form a national network of Chicano artists. Texas artist, Consuelo Gonzalez Amezcua was one of the featured artists; in this essay, written for the Research Center for the Arts Review, of which Quirarte served as director and editor, he situates the work of Amezcua within the context of both Western European and Pre-Columbian art history. In an interesting and substantiated argument, he points out the ways in which she both reflects and refutes both art histories. Quirarte’s essay is also noteworthy because it is one of the few on women artists of the Mexican American generation (before Chicano art; usually pre-1965) and on a non-realist painter.