One Of The Most Significant Exhibitions Of Contemporary Chicano Art Will Be on View at The Mexican Embassy In Berlin, Germany

The art will be on view at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Berlin, Germany from March 2 to June 2, 2023.

One Of The Most Significant Exhibitions Of Contemporary Chicano Art Will Be on View at The Mexican Embassy In Berlin, Germany

In Your Face: Chicano Art After CARA (Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation) features 54 works of diverse media such as sculpture, photography, prints, painting, and mixed media by 29 Chicana/o artists, will be on view at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Berlin, Germany from March 2 to June 2, 2023. The artwork is largely from the collection of AltaMed Health Services, the largest federally qualified community health center in the United States, and was co-organized with the Embassy of Mexico in Italy and now will be presented in partnership with the Embassy of Mexico in Berlin, Germany.

Chicano art is an important part of understanding American art from the mid-20th century to the present. It is a vibrant, visual expression and documentation of the Mexican- American experience in the United States, and an affirmation of Mexican history that was and still is closely tied to the United States through migration, trade, and cultural exchanges. Today there are over 37 million people of Mexican descent living in the United States, which makes up about 12% of the entire population. Chicanos are Mexican Americans who have lived through the civil rights era of the 1960s, who continue to demand equality and social justice and protest stereotypes.

In Your Face takes place thirty years after CARA, which was a traveling exhibition of Chicano/a art that toured the United States. This new exhibition endeavors to introduce Chicano art to new audiences in Germany. In Your Face starts where CARA ended in 1985 and continues through the present-day. The exhibition includes artwork by the same artists who were included in the original CARA exhibition, such as Carlos Almaraz, Linda Vallejo, Frank Romero, Patssi Valdez and more. The exhibition demonstrates how these artists have continued to create artwork that is just as vibrant and powerful, boldly addressing the same themes from CARA that remain an integral part of their personal and artistic lives. The themes in the exhibition are socio-political as related to Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos living and working in the United States; they focus on identity, feminism, and civil rights, referencing American, Chicano, and Mexican cultures and traditions, with a mostly figurative style that evokes strong, emotional personalities and histories.

The exhibition aims to improve appreciation of Chicano art as part of the greater canon of art history and inclusion in American art conversations. The exhibition contributes to building and sustaining cultural bridges between Los Angeles and Germany, between the United States, Mexico, Rome, and Spain, and between artists of Mexican heritage and the rich artistic communities in Europe.

"We are honored to partner with the Mexican Cultural Institute in Berlin, Germany to host the exhibition in its gallery," says AltaMed President and CEO Cástulo de la Rocha. "AltaMed was founded more than 50 years ago as a community health care network committed to social justice and equity. We have filled all of our clinics with art, because we believe that art is essential to the healing of bodies, spirits and communities and that everyone deserves access to art. Chicano art is bold, festive, imaginative, profound, and influential, as is the Mexican-American immigrant experience."

"Chicano identity transcends origins. Marked by the feeling of being a foreigner where you are and suddenly also where you came from. Battling until duality ceases to be and one finds one's own space, a fresh perspective with the strength of syncretism and the forcefulness of the survivor," is how Francisco Quiroga, Mexican ambassador to Germany, defines the strength of Chicano culture. "This exhibition shows the strident art of a culture with inspiration and a life of its own, but which we claim as part of a diverse, vibrant, and joyful Mexican-ness that addresses in its own particular way the global challenges of inclusion, justice, sustainability and solidarity."

In Your Face includes artists in the original CARA exhibition. Of these artists, 18 are male and 11 are female artists; 23 are still living; and 15 reside in Los Angeles. The dates of the artworks range from 1986 to 2022. The media include paintings, photography, prints (screen prints and lithographs), sculptures, pastels on paper, and mixed media. The majority of the artwork (54 works) is from the AltaMed Art Collection. In CARA, over forty murals were projected as part of the exhibition, so this exhibition will include a video presentation of Chicano murals divided by pre- and post-1985, prepared by Isabel Rojas-Williams. An extended gallery guide in German and Spanish will also be printed.

"Chicano art has been an integral part of American art since the mid-20th century," explains Dr. Susana Smith Bautista, AltaMed Chief Art Curator. "It is a visual expression of the Mexican-American experience in the United States, diverse in styles and messages. These works on display are a sign of the vitality of art adapting to changing times."

To learn more about the exhibition, visit the Mexican Cultural Institute in Berlin, Germany here:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the AltaMed Art Collection.


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