One of the most significant exhibitions of contemporary Chicano art opening at Veranos de la Villa Festival
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, July 18, 2024

One of the most significant exhibitions of contemporary Chicano art opening at Veranos de la Villa Festival
Leo Limon (2001), Morena y Quetzalcoatl.

MADRID.- 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 a part of the popular Veranos de la Villa Festival at the Espacio Cultural Serreria Belga in Madrid, Spain from July 6 to August 26, 2023. The artwork is largely from the collection of AltaMed Health Services, one of the largest federally qualified community health centers in the United States, was co-organized with the Embassy of Mexico in Italy, and will be presented in partnership with the Embassy of Mexico in Madrid, Spain.

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 to protest against stereotypes.

In Your Face takes place thirty years after CARA, which was a groundbreaking traveling exhibition of Chicano/a art that toured the United States in 1990. The goal of this revamped exhibition is to introduce Chicano art to new audiences in Italy, Germany, and now Spain. In Your Face starts where CARA ended in 1985, and continues through the present-day, although on a smaller scale. The exhibition includes artwork by many of 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 Spain, between the United States, Mexico, Italy and Germany, and between artists of Mexican heritage and the rich artistic communities in Europe.

"We are honored to partner with the Mexican Embassy and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Madrid and we are deeply grateful to the City of Madrid for including the exhibition in its cultural festival Veranos de la Villa," says Cástulo de la Rocha, President and CEO of AltaMed Health Services and the Founder of the AltaMed Art Collection. "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."

“The Embassy of Mexico in Spain is pleased to accompany the joint effort between the Madrid City Council, through the Veranos de la Villa festival, the Serrería Belga Cultural Space and AltaMed Health Services to present the In Your Face: Chicano Art After CARA exhibition in Madrid,” says Quirino Ordaz Coppel, Ambassador of Mexico to Spain. “This exhibition will allow the Spanish public to discover the quality of Chicano art and explore these artists’ view of the world, as well as their relationship with their Mexican roots and their environment,” added Ambassador Ordaz Coppel.

In Your Face includes many of the 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; 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 Spanish will be available in print and digitally.

"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."


The exhibition title In Your Face is taken from the 1990 exhibition Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (CARA) that started in Los Angeles and traveled to ten museums in the United States, Mexico (Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City), and Spain (Museo de América, Madrid) for three years. Organized by the University of California Los Angeles Wight Art Gallery, CARA was a groundbreaking exhibition that included 180 Chicano/a artists and arts collectives from the period of 1965 to 1985. It was the first time that a Chicano art exhibition received major press coverage, and the first to be included in mainstream museums at a national and international level. The exhibition focused on the Chicano Movement of that historic twenty-year period, on the socio-political conditions of Mexicans, cultural politics, feminism, civil rights, and on Chicano culture.

AltaMed Health Services

Largely drawn from the holdings of the AltaMed Art Collection, this grouping of works represents a small portion of what has become one of the largest collections of Chicano/a art in the world. AltaMed’s collecting practice strives for greater equality, representation, and access to the arts, achieved through sponsorships, publications, loans, and exhibitions such as this one. AltaMed understands that when people receive care that considers their individual health needs and respects their cultural preferences; they grow healthy—and help their families do the same. Since 1969, we have delivered complete medical services to communities across Southern California. Our team of qualified multicultural and bilingual professionals—from these same communities— is focused on eliminating barriers to primary care services, senior care programs, and essential community services. With nearly 50 accredited health centers and service facilities, we remain committed and ready to help you grow healthy at any age.

Espacio Cultural Serreria Belga
In Your Face: Chicano Art After CARA
July 6th, 2023 - August 27th, 2023

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