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Charlotte Moser begins her review of the 1977 exhibition Dale Gas: Chicano Art of Texas by stating its importance as the first major exhibition of Chicano art in Texas. Moser also describes the size of the show in terms of number of artworks and discusses the role of the curator, Santos Martinez. Moser also provides a short history of the artist collective Con Safo and its connection to the exhibition by way of Martinez who was a member. Subsequent paragraphs discuss the work of many of the artists included: Jesse Treviño, César Martinez, and Carmen Lomas Garza. In her review of the artwork, Moser describes the quality as ranging from “expertly conceived and executed” to “amateurish and naive.”


Charlotte Moser wrote the review of Dale Gas, organized by the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, while she was the art critic for the Houston Chronicle. As such, it is one of the very few extensive (in this case a full page) reviews in a major mainstream press for a Chicano art show. It provides good documentation of the exhibition’s genesis and several photographs of the artwork. The review’s aesthetic assessment also reveals Moser’s (and other art critics) overall attempts to negotiate the unfamiliar iconography and bilingual references. Moser prefaces her remarks by saying that Santos Martinez’s curatorial intent was to introduce Chicano art to what she terms “middle-class America.” This presupposes that Chicanos are not found in America’s middle class, a claim she leaves unaddressed. Also characteristic of the level of artistic review given to Chicano art by mainstream critics is Moser’s use of such ethnocentric terms as “primitivistic style” in reference to César Martinez’s prints.

Tere Romo
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Courtesy, Charlotte Moser, Bethesda, MD
© 1997 Houston Chronicle Publishing Co. All rights reserved.