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.
In this bilingual essay, Chon Noriega introduces the exhibition Just Another Poster? Chicano Graphic Arts in California/¿Sólo un cartel más? Artes gráficas chicanas en California, organized by the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2000. The exhibition examines Chicano graphic art from the 1960s to 1999, and the title alludes to a silkscreen piece created by Sacramento’s Royal Chicano Air Force member, Louie “The Foot” González. González’s This Is Just Another Poster (1976) was created, the author explains, in response to criticism of a Chicano poster art exhibition that had been called “rebus” and “arcane.” González’s goal was to establish the importance of art as a form of social protest. Using González’s work as a starting point, Noriega discusses the posters featured in the exhibition, many of which were created in art centers and collectives, thus highlighting the important connection between Chicano graphic art and the Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Poster art, the author proposes, bridges the gap between art objects, popular art, and mass media. Noriega asserts that posters are evocative as art objects, but also stir the public to feel desire and a sense of loss from the common images reworked by the artist.
Noriega wrote this essay for the exhibition catalog Just Another Poster?, that he also edited. He also served as one of the members of the exhibition’s curatorial team. Curated thematically and with an interdisciplinary approach, it was the first show to position the Chicano poster within a historical and aesthetic framework. The exhibition traveled nationally for three years and featured posters created by individual artists and those within the major Chicano cultural centers (Self-Help Graphics, Los Angeles; Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego; Galeria de la Raza and La Raza Silkscreen Center, San Francisco; and RCAF/Centro de Artistas Chicanos, Sacramento). Noriega’s essay provides a succinct interpretation of the exhibition’s curatorial premise in order to present the complexity and diversity of the poster as a ubiquitous, yet powerful medium for communication and community building within the Chicano Movement—the way it served a very direct political role, yet also functioned as a powerful aesthetic statement.