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    Tejana nostalgia; Lomas Garza's colorful festive barrio lacks bitter realities
    The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.). -- Dec. 3, 1995
    Newspaper article – Reviews
    Richard, Paul. “Tejana Nostalgia; Lomas Garza's Colorful Festive Barrio Lacks Bitter Realities.” The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.), December 3, 1995.
    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Lomas Garza, Carmen, 1948-
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In this review of Carmen Lomas Garza’s exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., Paul Richard of the Washington Post begins with a description of the artist life as recounted in her exhibition catalog statement. He argues that Lomas Garza’s art does not contain any of the negative aspects of growing up Chicana in Texas. Richard laments that though she paints in a “naive” style, Lomas Garza is university trained and has received government support in the form of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowships, California Art Council residencies, and other awards, as well as corporate funding for her art. Richard concludes with a comparison of her art to that of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo by stating that Lomas Garza’s works lack the “distastefulness” of the latter two artists.


Written by Paul Richard, a staff writer for the Washington Post, this essay offers an interesting approach to reviewing Chicano art, in this case, that of Carmen Lomas Garza. While most Euro-American critics faulted Chicano art for being overly political or technically flawed, Richard takes the opposite stance. He derides Lomas Garza for not being political enough or “distasteful” like Rivera and Kahlo, and for hiding her rough upbringing by opting to create a “naive” style of painting. Richard does not try to be objective, but he crosses the line with his racist references to roaches and machismo and his decision to include strong government and corporate support as criteria for an unfavorable art review. In its subjective tone, racist commentary, and limited knowledge of Chicano art, Richard’s review is a perfect example of the mainstream backlash to multiculturalism that happened in the mid-1990s. The review caused a great deal of controversy and generated letters to the editor, including the ones by Robert Velasco II (see doc. No. 849514) and Sally J. Andrade (doc. No. 849533).

Tere Romo
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA