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.
Artist and curator Richard A. Lou explains the need to diversify and enrich what has become the canon of stereotypical images in Chicano art. In this curatorial essay, he discusses the exhibit he curated, Hecho en Califas: The Last Decade 1990–1999, which showcased the work of California Chicano, Latino, and native artists who used nontraditional approaches to media and who challenged the mainstream understanding and visual language of their communities. As articulated by Lou, it was inspired by the Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965–1985 or CARA exhibition and brought to the fore the evolving diversity of art created in the 1990s. Organized by the Latino Arts Network (LAN), it featured 31 artists, including the following highlighted in Lou’s essay: Raoul de la Sota (Nopalscape, 1998), Rubén Esparza (Sin Pecado, 1998), Michael Garcia (Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath Water, 1994), Alma Lopez (California’s Fashion Slaves, 1997), Robert Sanchez (Silla de la Frontera #1, 1996), Gustavo Hernandez (David & Jonathan, 1 Samuel 20:41, 1999), James Luna (Half Indian/Half Mexican, 1992), and Juana Alicia (Citizen, 1998).
Richard A. Lou is an artist and member of the conceptual-artist duo Los Anthropolocos along with Robert J. Sanchez. In 1999, Lou was contracted to curate a statewide traveling group exhibition by the Latino Arts Network, a membership organization of ten Latino community art organizations in California. The Hecho en Califas exhibition (with accompanying catalog) aimed to provide a circuit for the promotion of artists’ work and to strengthen the collaborative opportunities for LAN. The show proved important because it was the first such self-directed project in the U.S. that organized and rotated a Latino and indigenous exhibition among six community art centers between 2000 and 2001. This essay is a valuable historical record of this ambitious collaborative project, which has not been repeated, and of the myriad artistic media and artistic expressions found within Chicano/Latino art during the 1990s in California.