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.
This document was written under the letterhead “Tres” [Three], yet signed by artists Carmen Lomas Garza, Amado Maurilio Peña, and César Augusto Martinez. The authors outline their reasons for resigning from the collective Con Safo [sometimes written Con Safos], including the conceptual disagreements between individuals in the collective, an unstable membership that lacked involvement, as well as an impractical organizational structure bound by formal rules rather than activity. The letter concludes with a statement of support for the remaining artists and a hope for Con Safo to become meaningful in the future.
Con Safo (usually spelled without an ‘s’ at the end) was a seminal artist collective in San Antonio, Texas, during the late 1970s. As outlined in this resignation letter, a disagreement within the group based mainly on the definition and role of Chicano art, caused three of the founding members to leave in 1974; they subsequently formed their own group, Los Quemados in 1975. As outlined in the essay included in their brochure, Con Safo evolved under different names and member configurations, from El Grupo in 1967, to Los Pintores de Aztlan, then Los Pintores de la Nueva Raza, and finally to Con Safo in 1972. Throughout the five years, the group’s mission remained focused on providing exhibition opportunities for its members. According to art historian Jacinto Quirarte, at the time of dissolution Con Safo artists had attained regional and even national exposure and thus had completed their mission.Though signed collectively, the letter was written by César Augusto Martinez, a Chicano painter with a long history of involvement in the Chicano movement both as an individual artist and as a member of some of the most seminal Texas artist collectives of the 1970s in San Antonio, including Con Safo and Los Quemados. He was also a co-founder of the Chicano magazine Caracol, for which he served as photographer, designer, and occasional columnist.