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  • ICAA Record ID
    845529
    TITLE
    Welcome to Café Mestizo / by David Avalos
    IN
    Cafe Mestizo. -- New York, U.S.A.: INTAR gallery, 1989
    DESCRIPTION
    p. 2-3, 5
    LANGUAGES
    English
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Avalos, David. "Welcome to Café Mestizo" In Cafe Mestizo, 2-3,5. Exh. cat., New York, U.S.A.: INTAR Gallery, 1989.
    GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTORS
Editorial Categories [?]
Synopsis

Artist and activist David Avalos wrote this catalogue essay for his solo exhibition in New York at the Intar Gallery. There, Avalos provides a historical context by way of examples of American literature to explain the concept of the exhibition: the same “purity of race” mechanism operating in the United States since its origins also underpins the exclusionary contemporary mainstream art world. Citing the example of the 1988 traveling exhibition, Hispanic Art in the United States: Thirty Contemporary Painters and Sculptors, he argues that it failed the curatorial goal of investigating the nation’s ethnic distinctiveness precisely because it tried to portray a mixed race art within a conceptual framework based on cultural and racial purity. He concludes by calling for artists to contribute to a reappraisal of the United States cultural agenda that is grounded (on the contrary) in cultural exchange and dialogue.

Annotations

David Avalos is a San Diego artist and founding member of the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo, a bi-national collectivecommitted to creating political art. Some of his art has been very controversial, such as the Art Rebate/Arte Reembolso project in which Avalos and fellow artists Louis Hock and Elizabeth Sisco handed out twenty dollar bills to undocumented workers. Though known more for his public art, the Café Mestizo exhibition of sculptures and installations incorporated Avalos’s seminal work with border art and identity politics. In this noteworthy exhibition catalogue essay, Avalos extends the concept of Chicano by redefining mestizo (a mixed race person) as a term that is interchangeable with “Mexican” and “Chicano” and also by positing the mestizo as part of United States history.

Researcher
Tere Romo
Team
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Credit
Courtesy of the private archives of David Avalos, National City,CA.
Courtesy of INTAR Theatre, New York, NY