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 is a published letter sent to the Sunday arts editor of the Washington Post by Robert Velasco II that was written in response to a review by Paul Richard, from December 3, 1995, of a Carmen Lomas Garza exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum. In the brief letter, Velasco argues against Richard’s narrow circumscription of Lomas Garza’s art to a “marginalized venue” solely based on racial and cultural alienation. The author points out that while the negative aspects of Latino poverty cannot be refuted, Richards should not view all Chicano art from this framework. In the final paragraph, Velasco calls for a more complex (re)viewing of Latino art, away from Richard’s limited, “monochromatic” image.
Written by Washington Post staff writer, Paul Richard, the review referenced in this letter is very interesting in its approach to discussing Chicano art, in this case that of Carmen Lomas Garza. While most Anglo critics faulted Chicano art for being overly political or technically flawed, Richard took the opposite stance. He derided Lomas Garza for not being political, for being “distasteful,” like [Diego] Rivera and [Frida] Kahlo, and for hiding her artistic training to create a “naïve” style of painting. Richard did not try to be objective, but crossed the line with racist references to roaches and machismo, and his application of strong government and corporate support as criteria for an unfavorable art review. In its racist tone and limited knowledge of Chicano art, Richard’s review is a perfect example of the mainstream backlash to multiculturalism that took place in the mid-1990s. The review caused controversy and generated letters to the editors, including this one by Robert Velasco II, and another one by Sally J. Andrade (see doc. no. 849533). For Paul Richard’s review titled “Tejana Nostalgia; Lomas Garza's Colorful Festive Barrio Lacks Bitter Realities,” see doc. no. 849495.