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 text, the Mexican writer Julio Solórzano contextualizes a lecture that the Chicago mural painter and activist John Weber gave while in Mexico and includes a brief history of Latino murals in Chicago. Solarzano explains that the mural movement of the early 1970s in Chicago arose during the 1960s as a response to problems in the United States related to the Vietnam War and the unjust treatment of ethnic minorities. He identifies earlier roots for the current mural movement in Chicago in [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Public Works of Art Project of the Works Progress Administration, which, in turn, drew inspiration from the Mexican mural renaissance of the 1920s. After Solorzano’s introduction, Weber’s lecture—for which he showed slides of murals in Chicago—is reproduced in its entirety. Weber explains that through mural programs, artistic organizations began creating works that did not just reflect social problems but sought to play a role in society’s transformation. He recounts how these contemporary community murals gave a voice to artists in Chicano, Puerto Rican and other ethnic groups who did not have opportunities to show their works in museums and galleries, and also made art accessible to the people living in these communities who, for economic reasons, did not have the opportunity to visit museums or purchase art. Weber points out a collaborative process by which murals are created and preserved, in which community members determine the location of murals, contribute materials and labor to the murals, in order to finally celebrate their completion. He also comments on how the Community Mural Project obtained private and foundation funding to provide mural painters with modest artists’ stipends.
This text includes an introduction by Julio Solórzano, as well as the transcript of a lecture and slide show that the Chicago muralist John Weber delivered in Mexico. Published in the Mexican magazine Revista de Revistas, it reveals the exchange between Mexican and U.S. artists sparked by the resurgence of mural painting in Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities in the United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In his introduction, Solorzano notes that there has been practically no awareness in Mexico of the murals painted by Chicano, Puerto Rican, and African-American artists and activists in the United States until John Weber gave this lecture during a visit to Mexico to study the muralist phenomenon. The text is illustrated by murals painted between 1967 and 1972 by John Weber, William Walker, and Ray Patlán, often illustrated with groups of children and teenagers. This document addresses the research topics “Art, Activism, and Social Change” as well as “Issues of Race, Class, and Gender in the Visual Arts of Latino-America.”