Editor's note: The Pasadena Museum of California Art provided source material to Resource Library for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Pasadena Museum of California Art directly through either this phone number or web address:



 

Serigrafía

January 19 - April 20, 2014

 

Serigrafía, on exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art from January 19 through April 20, 2014, surveys the powerful tradition of information design in California's Latino culture, featuring thirty influential silkscreens from the 1970s to the present. Beginning in the late 1960s, graphic art created at and distributed by artist-led collectives, or centros, contributed significantly to the public discourse. Emerging in concert with the civil rights movement and demanding political and social justice for marginalized groups, these prints confront political, economic, social, and cultural issues on both a personal and a global level. (right: Barbara Carrasco, Dolores, 1999, Silkscreen Print. Courtesy of Self Help Graphics & Art)

Curated by seven design experts, the exhibition examines how both aesthetics and portability are key aspects of the prints as communicative and educational objects. Unlike work created for galleries or museums, the poster's primary function is to clearly give voice to a complex message in very different environments.

Challenging the traditional notion of a "poster," the selected prints exemplify the impact of effective and moving communication through the printmaking process. Capturing momentous cultural and political events and experiences, the works in the exhibition explore subjects such as the United States embargo against Cuba and the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and are conceived to provoke, protest, and praise.

This exhibition was organized by Exhibit Envoy and is funded by the James Irvine Foundation. It is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Carrie Adrian, and Susan Davis.

 

Wall text panels from the exhibition

 
Serigrafía
 
Designs from California's Silkscreen Master Printmakers
 
Serigrafía surveys the powerful tradition of information design in California's Latino culture, featuring thirty influential silkscreens from the 1970s to the present. Beginning in the 1970s, graphic art was created at and distributed by artist-led collectives, or centros, and started to contribute significantly to the public discourse. Emerging in concert with the civil rights movement and activism for political and social justice for marginalized groups, these prints confront political, economic, social, and cultural issues on both a personal and a global level.
 
Challenging the traditional notion of a "poster," the selected prints exemplify the impact of effective and moving communication through the printmaking process. Capturing momentous cultural and political events and experiences, the works in the exhibition explore subjects such as the United States embargo on Cuba, and the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and are conceived to provoke, protest, and praise.
 
The works represent the printmaking heritage in California and were chosen from the tens of thousands of posters held in archives, collections, and museums statewide. Curated by seven design experts, the exhibition also examines how both aesthetics and portability are key aspects of the prints as communicative and educational objects. Unlike work created for galleries or museums, the poster's primary function was to clearly give voice to a complex message in very different environments.
 
 

Object labels from the exhibition

 
Jesus Barraza
Alcatraz Indigenous People's Thanksgiving, 2009
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
Barraza created this print to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of all Tribes who took over the island in 1969 as an act of resistance. After creating the prints, he attended the annual sunrise celebration on Alcatraz and freely shared them with the community.
- Favianna Rodriguez
 
 
Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes
Did we vote on your marriage?, 2011
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
This print features an illustration of a couple who are friends of the artists, who were engaged and who, under California Law, do not have the right to marry each other. The artists wanted to develop a poster to call attention to Proposition 8 and the unjust way in which a person's right to marriage can be determined by a vote. The couple featured in the piece later used the image for their wedding invitations.
- Favianna Rodriguez
 
 
 
Barbara Carrasco
Dolores, 1999
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of Self Help Graphics & Art
 
"There are so many icons of men, and icons of women painted by men, that I wanted [as a woman] to create an iconic image of Dolores to recognize her as an equal of Cesar Chavez and, historically, the most important negotiator for the United Farm Workers."
- Barbara Carrasco
 
Dolores Huerta is a labor organizer, human rights activist, feminist, and considered to be the most important Chicana activist of our time. Carrasco symbolically selected the colors: yellow ocher for Dolores' face to represent sunshine, the essence of her energy; a rose-colored blouse to symbolize her femininity and gentleness, combined with her unwavering support of women; and, finally, to recognize Dolores' lifelong commitment to farmworkers, Carrasco selected a background of mint green to illustrate growing plants, agriculture and life itself.
- Carol Wells
 
 
 
Leonard Castellanos
Celebración Día de los Muertos, 1976
Digital Print of Silkscreen Print
Reproduction Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
 
The Mexican Day of the Dead holiday is a rich mixture of religious and cultural history, drawing from indigenous and Catholic traditions. It is a celebration of the role that the dead play in the cycle of life, where skulls (calaveras) and skeletons serve as powerful graphic reminders of the departed. In this screenprinted poster, the skull wears sunglasses and a headdress, and the stylish hand lettering coupled with a chrome-like color treatment make it distinctly modern interpretation. The letters "CS" in the upper corners stand for "Con Safos," or "With Respect."
- Lincoln Cushing
 
 
 
Rene Castro
CAMP Central American Mission Partners, 1992
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of Mission Gráfica
 
Castro's graphic interpretation of an arm delivering a lighted candle appears to reach into the poster. The candle becomes a torch of light announcing the solidarity between the peoples of the Americas.
 
CAMP, a human rights and economic development organization established in 1984 aimed to stop the kidnappings by security forces in El Salvador, otherwise gruesomely known as the death squads.
- Juan R. Fuentes
 
 
 
Rene Castro
National Teach-in on US Involvement in Central America, 1984
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of a private collection
 
San Francisco's Mission District was a hotbed of political activity in the 1980s, as many groups, opposed to both direct and indirect U.S. military intervention in Central America, organized various informational and protest activities and events. Artists used their skills in support of these organizations. This street poster, an image of the Huey helicopter gunship (an icon of U.S. involvement) with a dove of peace skewered on its landing skid, leaves no doubt where the artist stands.
 
Castro's posters are known for their rich color and expressive drawing combined with posterized photographic images.
- Jos Sances
 
 
Enrique Chagoya and Jos Sances
U.S. Hands off Cuba, 1990
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
This print is collaboration between Chagoya and Sances. Chagoya drew the island of Cuba and the jet plane flying over it. The state of Florida and the "spy versus spy" characters from Mad magazine were drawn by Sances. Both artists acknowledge an affinity with the cartoon style of Mad magazine since childhood and its influence on their art.
 
This poster was made for an exhibit of artworks by artists opposed to U.S. sanctions against Cuba and the severing of diplomatic relations with the country in 1960 after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
- Jos Sances
 
 
 
Ricardo Favela, of the Royal Chicano Air Force
¡Huelga! Support the UFWA International Boycott, 1976
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
 
This is one of the many posters by the Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) that supported the Farm Worker Movement strike against Gallo wines, Sun Maid raisins, and Safeway markets for selling non-union lettuce and grapes. The RCAF merged art, humor and activism. Founded in 1970 in Sacramento, as the Rebel Chicano Art Front, the name was soon changed when they saw humor in having the same initials as the Royal Canadian Air Force. The artists began wearing World War II bomber jackets and flight helmets, and drove a military jeep, as seen here. They also talked about having "adobe airplanes"?a joke some growers believed.
- Carol Wells
 
Juan R. Fuentes
World Women's Conference, NGOs Nairobi Kenya, 1985
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
Fuentes has used the image of a woman carrying a collage of photographic images depicting the reality of People's struggle, under the burden of the repressive apartheid regime. The poster stands as a tribute to the struggle and contribution that women have waged for peace, equality and liberation throughout the world.
 
Women from around the world attended the 1985 United Nations World Women Conference, Nairobi, Kenya. The Bay Area women's organization, The Alliance Against Women's Oppression sent representatives to the conference.
- Juan R. Fuentes
 
 
 
Rupert Garcia
Fuera de Panama, 1989
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
 
Rupert Garcia was one of the first Chicano artists in California to be involved in making political screen prints. As a Vietnam Veteran, Garcia holds strong opinions about U.S. military intervention around the world, and has done a number of prints dealing with this theme. In this dark and ominous print he depicts the nighttime assault by a U.S. helicopter. The poster expresses Garcia's outrage at the 1989 U.S. military invasion of Panama that deposed president Manuel Noriega, capturing him and bringing him to Miami for trial.
- Jos Sances
 
 
 
Xico González
ChePata, 2006
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
 
"I morphed the iconic images of Ché Guevara and Emiliano Zapata to not only present Zapata in a different light, but to inspire the masses to stand up and fight for their rights." ?Xico Gonzalez
 
The poster was produced for the April 10, 2006, National Day of Action for immigrant rights, when hundreds of thousands across the country demonstrated against the national anti-immigrant bill HR4437. April 10th is also the anniversary of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata's assassination. The words "¡Ya Basta!" (Enough is Enough!) connects the work to the Zapatista struggle of Chiapas, México and the words "Stop Unjust Immigration Laws!" grounds the work in the struggle for immigrants' rights in the United States. ?Carol Wells
 
 
Daniel González, UCLA Labor Center
Workers & Students Unite for Justice, 2010
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
 
Although the faces in the demonstration are brown, this poster demands immigrants' rights for people from all over the world -- a message reinforced by the primary slogan "United for Justice" in twelve languages. Set in front of the nation's capital, the crowd is asking for access to safe and decent-paying jobs, access to educational opportunities, and progressive immigration reform. The United Farm Worker phrase "Si se puede" (Yes We Can) placard honors the long labor tradition of civil disobedience, and the crisp, linoleum-cut print style evokes the agitational posters of both Mexican and U.S. social justice movements.
- Lincoln Cushing
 
 
Ester Hernandez
Sun Mad, 1982
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
 
Hernandez was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, the center of the California raisin industry. Her parents were agricultural workers and during the summer Ester worked in the raisin fields where many farms displayed the Sun Maid logo.  She was inspired to produce Sun Mad after learning that the area's agribusiness had contaminated the water table in her hometown. By combining the familiar Sun Maid girl with Jose Guadalupe Posada's graphic tradition of the calavera or satirically costumed skeletons, Hernandez links raisins -- usually considered to be a healthy, natural food?to illness and death because of the use of pesticides, fungicides and other toxic chemicals.   She is also critiquing the many advertisements that use women to sell products.
- Carol Wells
 
 
 
La Raza Graphics
Cesar Chavez, Yes on 14, 1976
Digital Print of Silkscreen Print
Reproduction Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California
 
The clean, dignified face of farmworker leader Cesar Chavez gazes from this poster promoting a speaking engagement at San Francisco State University. The United Farm Workers Union (UFW) eagle at the top is stylized from the traditional version, and the split fountain effect uses the unevenly blended red and black to dramatically enhance the impact of a single-pass poster. The topic at hand was Proposition 14, a California initiative put before the voters to protect progressive farm labor laws from being weakened. Even though the initiative failed, a key portion of the law was upheld allowing the right of unions to access workers on the job site.
- Lincoln Cushing
 
 
Yolanda M. López
Women's Work is Never Done: Homage to Dolores Huerta, 1995
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the collection of Alliance Graphics
 
López produced this work as part of her series Women's Work is Never Done, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of women's suffrage. López contrasts an iconic 1965 photo of Dolores Huerta with images of laborers who risk their health and lives to produce our food. Their bandanas provide scant protection from harmful pesticides to which they are constantly exposed and underscore the artist's concern for environmental safety for farm workers. This is a stunning representation of the work of an important contemporary Chicana artist and focuses attention on one of the many issues that confront women workers.
- Jos Sances
 
 
 
Malaquias Montoya
BAKKKE, 1977
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
In 1978, the United States Supreme Court ruled on a historic case. Allan Bakke, a white male from Sunnyvale, CA, won a suit against the University of California, Davis on the grounds that he was discriminated against based on the principles of Affirmative Action. The racially charged decision caused a huge uproar and a call to overturn the case. Montoya captures community outrage by choosing "KKK" as a focal point and exposing the case for what it was, Racist. Adding to the tension he brings the idea of inequality with a group of students being towered by American bigotry.
- Tony Carranza
 
 
 
Malaquias Montoya
Stop Wells Fargo Bank Loans to Chile, 1979
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
This poster was printed in 1979 and not only highlights a prescient issue in light of the recent Occupy protests which have taken root throughout the United States but also is an incredible example of a simple yet visually arresting two color silkscreen poster. Like many of Montoya's posters, the issue raised here ties the complicity of U.S. corporations, banks and citizens, and how their actions supported the oppression and anti-democratic actions occurring internationally.
- Carlos Jackson
 
 
 
Gilda Posada
Libertad, 2008
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
Intending to illustrate developing world liberation and solidarity, this poster was created to show the relationship between liberation movements for human rights in Palestine and in Mexico. Posada printed Libertad in 2008 as a student in the Chicana/o Studies Poster Workshop at Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer in Woodland, CA, which is a community based art center managed and directed by the Chicana/o Studies Department at UC Davis. This poster was developed using rubylith film with the artist cutting the stencils using an X-Acto knife.
- Carlos Jackson
 
 
 
Celina Spring Rodriquez
Sudan, 2006
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
Rodriguez produced Sudan for the organization STAND, which is the student led division of United to End Genocide, the largest activist organization in America dedicated to preventing and ending genocide and mass atrocities worldwide. She made this print as a student in Malaquias Montoya's Chicana/o Studies Poster Workshop course at UC Davis using traditional silkscreen materials, printing and cutting the stencils by hand.
- Carlos Jackson
 
 
 
Favianna Rodriguez
The World vs. The 1%, 2011
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
I created this poster after being inspired by the collective and powerful energy behind the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. As the messages of OWS spread across the country and the world, it created an opening for artists like myself to talk about the detrimental costs of capitalism, the excessive power of corporations and banks, and the economic devastation being imposed on people around the world. For once in a long time, I was able to critique capitalism in mainstream conversations. I developed this poster to call out the negative effects of capitalism and to inspire people to think globally.
- Favianna Rodriguez
 
 
 
Favianna Rodriguez, Jesus Barraza, and Estria Miyashiro
Resist U.S. Imperialism, 2007
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez
 
The poster symbolically parallels Iraq to Aztlan. I wanted to draw the parallels between the invasion of Iraq under the false pretense of "liberation," and the invasion of Southwest, where Mexicanos were promised their rights under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848 as an attempt to settle border issues between Mexico and the US, -- yet its promises were never kept and a treaty that was never upheld.
- Favianna Rodriguez
 
 
Jos Sances
Por la Paz en Nicaragua, 1984
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of Mission Gráfica
 
Sances' colorful poster of a woman sitting with folded hands and holding a bouquet of flowers, a dove flying off the page, symbolizes Peace in Nicaragua.
 
The woman is very serene and appears fixed and rock solid, alluding to the role women played in the country's struggle. They fought as active participants and leaders, many joining the ranks of the Sandinista People's Army. Women were key to the success of the revolution in Nicaragua. Their voices born out of a collective suffering, assisted in the 1979 fall of the Somoza regime.
- Juan R. Fuentes
 
 
La Raza Graphics
Viva La Raza National Chicano Moratorium, 1970
Digital Print of Silkscreen Print
Reproduction Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California
 
This is the earliest poster in this exhibition, reflecting the imagery of the emerging Chicano movement. Massed hands form the shape of an Aztec pyramid, topped with a warning palm holding the poster's title's first word. The Chicano Moratorium consisted of several demonstrations by the Mexican American community against the war in Vietnam and racism at home. This event in East Los Angeles on August 29, 1970 was the largest antiwar demonstration ever mounted by people of color. The ensuing police riot left four dead, one of them journalist Rubén Salazar for whom Belvedere Park is now named.
- Lincoln Cushing
 
 
 
Mark Vallen, Art for a Change, Shock Battalion
Nuclear War?! There Goes My Career!, 1982
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles
 
Vallen combines public fears of a nuclear war with a critique of those too self-centered to recognize their responsibility for the state of the world. It was produced the same year that one million people demonstrated in New York City's Central Park against nuclear weapons and the cold war arms race -- at the time, the largest anti-nuclear protest and the largest political demonstration in U.S. history. The image is based on Roy Lichtenstein's 1960s Pop Art style, combining the triviality of pulp romance with the dot pattern and dialogue bubble characteristic of the cheap color reproduction technology of comic books.
- Carol Wells
 
 
 
Xavier Viramontes
Boycott Grapes, 1973
Digital Print of Silkscreen Print
Reproduction Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California
 
This bold Aztec warrior was an appeal by the United Farm Workers Union (UFW), with two powerful hands crushing red and white grapes and dripping with the blood of exploited and injured farmworkers. When strikes, marches, and legislation failed to improve conditions in the fields, the UFW asked the public to pressure growers by boycotting lettuce, grapes and wines from 1966 to 1970. This tactic, adopted by community, church, and labor organizations, was the most successful in American history and resulted in the signing of the first UFW contracts. This poster is about a second boycott campaign that began in 1973.
- Lincoln Cushing
 
 
 
Ernesto Yerena
Decolonize Wallstreet, 2011
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
As Occupy Wall Street swept the US in September 2011, many artists were inspired by the call for economic justice, and in particular artists of color approached the message through a racial justice lens. Here, Yerena uses "Decolonize" as homage to the millions of indigenous people displaced in "occupations" centuries before. Yerena casts light on the negative aspects of the word "occupy" calling for solidarity with indigenous communities. Before the Dutch arrived to what we know today as New York City, the land belonged to the Algonquian Nation. Manhattan is an Algonquian word meaning "Island of Hills".
- Favianna Rodriguez
 
 
 
Ernesto Yerena
Knowledge Is Power, 2011
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Artist
 
Along with yesterday's veteran poster-makers there emerges a new crop of artists making waves today. Artists who build from past art movements and use today's current graphic aesthetics to tell the story of Chicano culture. Yerena is one of these artists. In this piece he takes a famous quote and creates a simple yet uplifting print that speaks directly to the viewer. The kids' gaze captures the innocence and optimism of youth. He reinforces it with heart and ganas (desire) and reminds everyone to empower themselves for the future.
- Tony Carranza
 
 
 
Melanie Cervantes
Brown and Proud, 2010
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes
 
Cervantes created this print in response to Arizona's SB 1070 passed into law in 2010, which allows local "law enforcement" to legally use racial profiling to harass anyone believed to be "an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S." Brown and Proud creates a message of cultural affirmation and pride at a time when being brown meant that one was a target of suspicion and abuse. The stylized butterfly is based on glyphs found in Azcapotzalco, an area of what is now Mexico City and symbolizes how migration is reflected in the natural world. "Todos Somos Arizona" is influenced by the collectively-focused Zapatista slogans such as Todos Somos Ramona.
- Favianna Rodriguez
 
 
Linda Lucero
Lolita Lebron Viva Puerto Rico Libre!, 1976
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Chicana/o Studies Collection at University of California, Davis
 
Lucero was profoundly moved by Puerto Ricans in their efforts for self-determination and produced this poster featuring Lolita Lebrón, who led a 1954 attack on the U.S. House of Representatives in order to proclaim Puerto Rican independence. Five congressmen were shot, and Lebrón?along with three other Puerto Rican nationalists?remained in prison for more than twenty-five years until unconditionally pardoned in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. Lebrón epitomized national liberation struggles, women's struggles, and the struggles of a Spanish-speaking people under U.S. domination. Her face is shown above the Puerto Rican flag, with "Long Live a free Puerto Rico!" written all over it.
- Carlos Jackson
 
 
Linda Lucero
Expresion Chicana, 1976
Silkscreen Print
Courtesy of the Chicana/o Studies Collection at University of California, Davis
 
Expresion Chicana was created in 1976 by Lucero in collaboration with the seminal San Francisco poster workshop called La Raza Silkscreen Center. This poster was created to announce an exhibition of Chicana artists at Mills College and is an early example of the efforts of Chicanas to create equal representation within the Chicano Art Movement. This poster is a powerful example of a two-color poster that presents itself as a much more complicated graphic image.
- Carlos Jackson


(above: Rene Castro, CAMP Central American Mission Partners, 1992, Silkscreen Print. Courtesy of Mission Gráfica)

 

Acknowledgements

 
Co-Curators
 
Tony Carranza - Art Director, TUMIS
 
Lincoln Cushing - Author/Archivist
 
Juan R. Fuentes - Printmaker / Visiting Faculty, San Francisco Art Institute / Former Director, Mission Gráfica
 
Carlos Jackson - Assistant Professor, UC Davis Department of Chicano/a Studies / Director, Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer
 
Favianna Rodriquez - Printmaker / Co-Founder, Presente.org
 
Jos Sances - Artist / Founder, Alliance Graphics / Co-Founder, Mission Gráfica
 
CarolWells - Founder & ExecutiveDirector, Center for the Study of Political Graphics
 
 
Designer
 
Roque Montez
 
 
UC Davis Design Museum
 
Christopher Beers, Principle Preparator
 
Tim McNeil, Director
 
Adele Zhang, Curator
 
 
Exhibit Envoy
 
Daniel Charm, Research
 
Lexie Smith Kliebe, Project Manager
 
Adrienne McGraw, Executive Director
 
This exhibition was funded by The James Irvine Foundation and is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.


Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy:

Read more information, articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Pasadena Museum of California Art in Resource Library.


Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2014 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.