To help guide attention to the timely and valuable work of the CSRC, below are spotlights on current CSRC projects, publications, and productions.
Spotlight on Archival Research (CSRC Newsletter - November 2015)
Laslett researches Gamboa Papers for book on Chavez Ravine
John H. M. Laslett, emeritus professor in the UCLA Department of History, has published a new book titled Shameful Victory: The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Scare, and the Hidden History of Chavez Ravine (University of Arizona Press, 2015). The book discusses the eviction of Mexican American residents from their homes in Chavez Ravine to make way for the Dodgers’ ballpark in the 1950s. Laslett places the events in a broad historical and cultural context and argues that the evictions had an impact on civil rights and urban reform movements in Los Angeles in the 1960s through the 1990s. Laslett, whose research drew in part from the CSRC’s Michelle Kholos Brooks Collection of Manazar Gamboa Papers, discusses how the evictions have also influenced Chicano/a popular music, drama, and literature to the present day. Manazar Gamboa was born in Chavez Ravine in 1934. A writer and community activist, Gamboa wrote dozens of poems, plays, and short stories about the tight-knit barrio community in Elysian Park. His papers at the CSRC Library provided Laslett with information about the artistic and literary scene in Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s. Look for a book talk by Laslett and Ron Lopez, professor of Chicano and Latino studies at Sonoma State University, at the CSRC during the winter quarter.
Spotlight on Archival Research (CSRC Newsletter, October 2015)
Henriques researches Frontera Collection for mariachi project
Over the summer Donald Henriques, associate professor of ethnomusicology at California State University, Fresno, visited UCLA to research recordings in the Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Music. Henriques is conducting a study on Tito Guízar, a Mexican singer and the star of the 1936 film Allá en el Rancho Grande. The collection provided information not only on the songs that Guízar recorded but also on the musicians that accompanied him and the companies that issued his recordings. Henriques’s larger project is focused on the development of the modern mariachi voice in the 1930s and the relationship between popular and art music aesthetics. Please note: The new, interactive Frontera Collection website, which will be available to the public, is in Beta phase; look for a formal launch announcement soon.
Spotlight on Archival Research (CSRC Newsletter, June 2015)
Students research Gronk and Legorreta collections
In May members of a freshman seminar visited the CSRC Library to examine the photographs and ephemera in the Gronk Papers that are related to the Chicano artist collective Asco, as well as photographs, scrapbook pages, and Latino-themed and Latino-oriented documents and ephemera in the Robert Legorreta “Cyclona” Collection. The seminar, “Unfixing Values: Experimental Art in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s,” explored how art can provoke questions of value, audience, and exchange. The class focused on installation art, performance art, artist publications, and short films created by artists from different L.A. communities. CSRC archive manager Michael Stone worked with the group and spoke about the process of preserving the two CRSC collections. As a result of the visit, three students elected to write their final research papers on various aspects of Asco’s performance- and media-based artworks.
The seminar was a component of UCLA’s general education cluster programs, yearlong interdisciplinary courses that focus on one topic throughout the year and are open only to freshman students. During the fall and winter quarters students attend lectures team-taught by faculty from various departments and discussion sections led by graduate teaching fellows. In the spring students enroll in one of the seminars designed and taught by the teaching fellows. Kavior Moon, a Ph.D. candidate in art history at UCLA, was the instructor of “Unfixing Values,” which was offered as part of the cluster program on Los Angeles.
Spotlight: Tradition and Transformation (CSRC Newsletter, May 2015)
Shifra M. Goldman was a groundbreaking art historian who pioneered the study of Chicano art. Tradition and Transformation: Chicana/o Art from the 1970s through the 1990s is an illustrated collection of her essays, representing not only Goldman’s influential scholarship on Chicana/o art but also her archival efforts and political activism. Charlene Villaseñor Black, UCLA art history professor and chair of the CSRC Faculty Advisory Committee, edited the collection and wrote the introduction. She notes that the essays are “outstanding examples of social art history, as Goldman demonstrates the entwined connections between art and politics and how social art history can engage with postmodernism, multiculturalism, feminism, and transnationalism.” The book may be ordered through the distributor, the University of Washington Press. Through the month of May, however, the title is available at half price (shipping additional) when purchased directly through the CSRC; contact Darling Sianez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-825-3428 to order. On Thursday, May 14, 3:30–4:00 p.m., Villaseñor Black will sign copies of the book in the CSRC conference room, 179 Haines Hall, for UCLA students and faculty. Look for more signing events in the near future.
Spotlight on Archival Research (CSRC Newsletter, April 2015)
UCLA alumnae research CSRC collections for mariachi exhibition
UCLA graduates Mary Alfaro and Julia Fernandez are curatorial consultants for an upcoming exhibition titled Corazon de la Comunidad: Mariachi in Los Angeles. The exhibition, which will open in May at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles, will examine how mariachi music and the musicians themselves have become symbols of Mexican and Mexican American identity and culture. Audiences will be invited to explore the history of mariachi in Los Angeles: what it means to the Mexican American community, and what it means to the viewer. In preparation for the exhibition, Alfaro and Fernandez conducted research at the CSRC and selected for inclusion photographs from the La Raza Photograph Collection, albums from the Robert Legorreta “Cyclona” Collection, and cancionero books from the Anthony Beltramo Collection.
Spotlight on Archival Research (CSRC Newsletter, March 2015)
Lorraine M. Gutiérrez researches the Ricardo Muñoz Papers
Lorraine M. Gutiérrez is an Arthur F. Thurnau professor of psychology and social work and a faculty associate in American culture (Latino studies) at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. Her current projects include identifying strategies for multicultural community-based research and practice, multicultural education for social work practice, and identifying effective methods for learning about social justice. She recently visited the CSRC to conduct research on a new project concerning twentieth-century Chicano/Latino leaders in social work and social welfare. She shared some of her findings:
Spotlight: Alvaro Huerta and Alfonso Morales on The Association of Latin American Gardeners (CSRC Newsletter, February 2015)
In the current issue of Aztlán (vol. 39, no. 2), urban and regional planning professors Alvaro Huerta and Alfonso Morales look at the formation of The Association of Latin American Gardeners of Los Angeles (ALAGLA) and outline the group’s 1998 campaign to reverse Los Angeles’s ban on gas-powered leaf blowers. The authors note that the group’s success indicates marginalized immigrant workers can effect change through collective action. An excerpt from the article can be found here. Look for a related symposium organized by Huerta at the CSRC this spring.
Spotlight: CSRC partners with SubCine.com (CSRC Newsletter, January 2015)
The CSRC is pleased to announce a new partnership with SubCine.com, the premier online resource for independent Latino film and video. SubCine has built its reputation in the artistic community by distributing award-winning features, documentaries, and experimental films by a wide array of Latino filmmakers. The CSRC will now manage online sales for SubCine.com—and the site will now carry the CSRC Press’s Chicano Cinema and Media Art Series for purchase for exhibition and educational use. This series includes works by artists Laura Aguilar, Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, and Willie Varela, as well as features and documentaries. A special rate is available when purchasing the entire CSRC series. (Individuals may continue to purchase DVDs directly through the CSRC site.) Please support independent cinema!
Spotlight: Luis Cruz Azaceta (CSRC Newsletter, December 2014)
From national crises such as the AIDS epidemic to the devastation and dislocation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Cuban-born artist Luis Cruz Azaceta responds to what biographer Alejandro Anreus calls the “wounds and screams” of the human condition. The milestone tenth volume in the A Ver: Revisioning Art History series from the CSRC Press, Luis Cruz Azaceta is the first book to examine this widely collected artist, who for over forty years has created graphically powerful paintings, mixed-media pieces, and installations that address national crises as well as the realities of exile and life after the diaspora. For more information and to purchase copies, click here.
Spotlight: Daniel Enrique Pérez on "Toward a Mariposa Consciousness" (CSRC Newsletter, November 2014)
Preview an essay in the Fall 2014 issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies by Daniel Enrique Pérez, associate professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Pérez discusses the use of butterfly iconography in cultural texts to demonstrate how butterflies as metaphors for queer Chicanos and Latinos—or mariposas—can facilitate a mariposa consciousness, a decolonial site grounded in an awareness of the social location, social relations, and history of the mariposa subject.
Spotlight: Artist's Communiqué by Linda Vallejo (CSRC Newsletter, October 2014)
Preview an essay by Los Angeles–based artist Linda Vallejo, who provided the cover art for the Fall 2014 issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. “Make ’Em All Mexican” explores the artist’s personal history and the genesis of her newest series of work.
Since its founding in 1969, the CSRC has supported research on immigration, including the legal rights of undocumented immigrants. The CSRC's Tamar Diana Wilson Fund has been especially valuable in this regard, supporting research projects on urban poverty and poverty alleviation as they apply to Latinos and Mexican and Central American indigenous populations in the U.S. and their home countries. In the context of current news and debates concerning undocumented minors from Central America, the CSRC has made available research and resources on this topic. Click the linked title above to access them.
Spotlight: Jotería Studies (CSRC Newsletter, June 2014)
The Dossier section of the Spring 2014 issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies focuses on jotería studies. This collection of articles, curated by Michael Hames-García (University of Oregon), offers a variety of perspectives on jotería studies, which Hames-García identifies as “an emergent formation” being developed by “a new generation of multigendered queer Chican@s and Latin@s.” Topics range from accounts of the origins of jotería studies to the influence of jotería studies on the disciplines of aesthetics, theology, and performance studies. Several essays incorporate accounts of the author’s personal experiences of discovery. Also included are two keynote addresses from the first National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Joto Caucus, in 2007. For more on the Dossier, click here.
Spotlight: Ricardo Valverde retrospective to open at VPAM (CSRC Newsletter, May 2014)
The late Los Angeles–based photographer and artist Ricardo Valverde (1946–1998) will be featured in a career retrospective at the Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) at East Los Angeles College, May 17–July 26, 2014. The exhibition, Ricardo Valverde: Experimental Sights, 1971–1996, is the first survey of Valverde’s extensive body of work. The guest curator is Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, former chief curator for the Museum of Latino American Art in Long Beach and currently a CSRC visiting scholar. The show, undertaken in partnership with the CSRC, highlights more than one hundred artworks spanning a twenty-five-year period of production. The opening reception is Saturday, May 17, 4:00–6:00 p.m., and is free to all. For more information on the exhibition and related public programs, visit the VPAM website.
Spotlight: Commentary by Richard Montoya (CSRC Newsletter, April 2014)
Richard Montoya, writer, director, and CSRC Community Scholar, discusses his experience acting in Cesar Chavez, his forthcoming film Water & Power (a Sundance Lab Project), and his hope for both films’ impact on the Chicano community and American culture, in the commentary “A Rare Moment and a Long Road for Chilango and Chicano Cinema,” posted on the CSRC website.
Spotlight: The CSRC says “Bonjour!” (CSRC Newsletter, March 2014)
This month Asco and Friends: Exiled Portraits opens in Marseille. The exhibition is a partnership between the CSRC and Triangle France, and includes materials from the CSRC archives. Then, in the summer, Chicano artists whose works appeared in the CSRC’s L.A. Xicano exhibitions will be represented in a major exhibition in Bordeaux. The CSRC will lend copies of James Tartan’s historic documentaries on Chicano artists and L.A. muralists, which will be shown in the gallery.
Spotlight: New DVD on pioneer video artist Willie Varela (CSRC Newsletter, February 2014)
This month we are pleased to spotlight Video Art by Willie Varela, volume 9 in the Chicano Cinema and Media Art DVD series, which preserves and showcases important and rare Chicano films and videos. This is the first DVD compilation of works by the avant-garde Chicano filmmaker, and it includes over six hours of material, from silent shorts created in the 1970s to an autobiographical feature-length film completed in 1989. The CSRC worked closely with the artist to produce this original collection. Varela’s videos emphasize the act of looking over storytelling and stress rhythm and repetition over linear development and direct associations. Varela’s films have been screened at venues around the country, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In conjunction with this DVD release, Willie Varela will be giving public talks in Los Angeles, February 20-22.
Spotlight: Pepón Osorio by Jennifer A. González (CSRC Newsletter, January 2014)
This month we spotlight Pepón Osorio, volume 9 in the CSRC’s A Ver series. “Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, in 1955, Benjamin “Pepón” Osorio is one of the world’s foremost installation artists, noted not only for his exploration of form across diverse cultural registers but also for his commitment to an artistic process grounded in social justice, collaboration with disenfranchised communities, and blurring of the institutional boundaries for artistic practice and exhibition,” writes Chon A. Noriega in the book’s foreword. Learn more about the publication and download the entire foreword and table of contents from the CSRC website.
Spotlight: Artist’s communiqué with Ramon Ramirez (CSRC Newsletter, December 2013)
Visit the CSRC website to preview an interview with Los Angeles-based artist Ramon Ramirez, who provided the cover art for the Fall 2013 issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. The interview, conducted for Aztlán by José L. S. Gámez, associate professor of architecture and urban design at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, explores the artist’s views on the meaning of his work, its inspirations, and the role of the urban landscape in cultural production.
Spotlight: Ella Maria Diaz on the Royal Chicano Air Force (CSRC Newsletter, November 2013)
As the first segment of the CSRC Newsletter’s new spotlight on CSRC publications and partners, this month we preview an essay in the current issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies: Ella Maria Diaz’s article “The Necessary Theater of the Royal Chicano Air Force.” Diaz is assistant professor and graduate faculty member in the Department of English at Cornell University.