CONTACT: Carol Schliesinger, 210-207-6980
SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 12, 2020) – The Department of Arts & Culture will open tomorrow two landmark exhibits addressing Chicano arts at its Centro de Artes gallery in Market Square. XicanX: New Visions challenges previous and existing surveys of Chicano and Latino identity-based exhibitions. Los Maestros: Early Explorers of Chicano Identity highlights the contributions of active Chicano artists since the start of San Antonio’s Chicano arts movement in the 1960s and 1970s. An opening reception will be held tomorrow, February 13, at 6 – 9 p.m. at Centro de Artes. The exhibitions will be on view through June 28, 2020.
“The mission of Centro de Artes is to create a place that tells the story of the Latino experience through the work of influential and emerging artists from San Antonio and South Texas,” said Yadhira Lozano, District 3 Representative and Centro de Artes Committee Chair, San Antonio Arts Commission. “These exhibits address issues of identity and the labels that evolve as we continue to further define ourselves in the face of current events and the politics of our time.”
XicanX: New Visions, curated by Dos Mestizx, the contemporary XicanX art collective made up of Suzy González and Michael Menchaca, presents a group of artists whose artwork expands upon how Latinx artwork can be established across ideological borders; freely expressing a new wave of images and voices in a post-internet era.
XicanX: New Visions, on display on Centro de Artes’ first floor, includes artists Natalia Anciso, Daphne Arthur, Efren Ave, William Camargo, Lisette Chavez, Arleene Correa Valencia, Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra, Emilia Cruz, Ben Cuevas, Celeste De Luna, Josie Del Castillo, Yvonne Escalante, Audrya Flores, Eric J. Garcia, Joel "rage.one" Garcia, Nabil Gonzalez, Lisa Guevara, Lilia Berenice Hernandez Galusha, Xandra Ibarra, Erick Iniguez, Michael R. León, Mark Anthony Martinez, Robert Martinez, Yvette Mayorga, Gilda Posada, Irene Antonia Diane Reece, Xavier Robles Armas, Natalia Rocafuerte, Alán Serna, Ana Treviño, Jesusa Marie Vargas, Tanya Garcia, Juan Ortiz, Kalli Arte Collective, and Las Imaginistas.
XicanX art recalls the powerful impact of the Chicano Art movement while growing to uphold an inclusivity of both intercultural and intersectional identities. The XicanX Art Movement consists of artists from a variety of regions, genders, and backgrounds, not necessarily with Mexican origins. This exhibition especially highlights the womxn, queer, immigrant, indigenous, and activist artists who are at the forefront of this movement.
The work involves expressions of culture, storytelling around existence and experience, and a transcendence of borders. With roots in painting, murals, and printmaking, the XicanX movement expands to include new media, video, and installation-based art making. These artists are not afraid to use their voices, and often comment on and/or question socio-political issues, identity, and contemporary civil-rights through a conceptual means.
On the second floor of Centro de Artes, Los Maestros: Early Explorers of Chicano Identity focuses on three of the underrepresented artists central to the early Chicano arts movement in San Antonio – Jesse Almazán, José Esquivel, and Rudy Treviño. All three artists were members of Con Safo, San Antonio’s first Chicano arts collective. This exhibition will focus on their unique contributions and histories as individual artists. This exhibition also marks the first public showing of Jesse Almazán’s work since his death in 2002. Jesse’s wife, Maggie Almazán, has loaned her collection and archives for the exhibition.
Out of the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, a cohort of talented Mexican-American artists emerged in San Antonio, Texas. Excluded from mainstream galleries and museums, these artists began to organize their own groups, exhibitions, and galleries, interweaving their shared artistic aspirations with commentaries on the social movements of the time. Many were employed as commercial artists, graphic designers, and sign painters. However, their passion was for fine art. Together, they opened new doors for one another and for future generations, and entered into an uncharted exploration of Chicano art, politics, and identity.
Centro Cultural Aztlan is the curator of the Los Maestros exhibition. The organization’s Executive Director, Malena Gonzalez-Cid, began developing plans for the exhibition in 2018 through a series of interviews with the featured artists.
Centro de Artes Gallery is an institution dedicated to telling the story of the Latino experience in the United States, with a focus on San Antonio and South Texas through local and regional art, history and culture, and dedicated to sharing the transnational experience of Latinos in the United States. In 2018, the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture hosted an open call for exhibitions for Centro de Artes as part of the strategic plan developed for the gallery in collaboration with the community in 2017. XicanX: New Visions and Los Maestros: Early Explorers of Chicano Identity were two of the ten exhibitions selected by the Centro de Artes Committee through the inaugural open call.
For more information about the exhibits, visit www.sanantonio.gov/CentrodeArtes