Braceros, 1960, oil on masonite, 36 x 49 in.
Art Along the Hyphen: The Mexican-American Generation explores a seminal but overlooked generation of artists who made their careers in Los Angeles between the early twentieth century and the rise of the Chicano art movement in the 1960s. From commercial illustrations that celebrated the mythic Californios to modernist art that engaged directly with the African American Civil Rights era, this exhibition pulls together 100 rarely seen paintings, sculptures, and archival documents to explore how these artists drew inspiration from both their Mexican heritage and American home.
Art Along the Hyphenis part of a unique four-exhibition project calledL.A. Xicanoorganized by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center in partnership with the Autry National Center, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Other concurrent exhibitions includeIcons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo(Fowler),Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement(Fowler), andMural Remix: Sandra de la Loza(LACMA). The exhibition is made possible through support from the Getty Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Born in Pomona and a son of Mexican migrant workers, Ulloa three years earlier had finished Racism/Incident at Little Rock, inspired by the 1967 Supreme Court decision that ordered an end to public school segregation in Arkansas and across the nation, also in the exhibition. The painting, based on news photos of the Little Rock Nine, a group of black high school students seeking to attend one of the most prestigious high schools in Little Rock, Ark. and who were beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s decision. Even so, when they showed up for their first day at the school, they had to be escorted by National Guardsmen, so great was the public sentiment against desegregation in general and their presence in particular.
Ulloa’s education as an artist, after military service in World War II, placed him in a local print shop whose output was modeled on the socially conscious work of theTaller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, which under the direction of artists Luis Arenal and Pablo O’Higgins turned out pro-labor and progressive political broadsides, prints and posters through the 20th Century. The TGP remains active today. Ulloa also briefly worked as a house painter in Los Angeles, and one of the works in the exhibition that extols his pro-Union sympathies is based on a painters’ strike that occurred here.
Tere Romo, one of three guest curators that made the exhibition possible, says that, because the show focuses on artists who received little attention during their lifetimes as members of the Chicano aesthetic, finding and identifying the works that form part of the show became a separate task during the preparation of the exhibition. This meant that the whole project, from initial research to opening night, took seven years. In fact, the Braceros painting became the object of a search worthy of a detective novel.
“It was lost for so long, and images were the only things that were being circulated,” Romo said. “People knew it existed, but no one knew where it was.“Romo said she didn’t even know where to start to go looking for the piece. All her usual sources and academic references just didn’t apply here. On a hunch, she asked the owner ofRacism/Incident at Little Rock, with whom she was already in talks to arrange its loan, if he might have an idea of who might own the other Ulloa work.
“I said, ‘You know, this is a long shot, but I’m asking everyone who’s ever had any of his work if they know where this piece is,’” she said. “He’s the one that actually gave me a lead that then led to another lead, and then I was able to find it. And I was so happy.”
Romo said the owner of Braceros had wanted to keep the collection, and her ownership of the work, private, but in the end, she graciously agreed to lend it to the exhibition.
“It wasn’t exhibited very much when he made it,” Romo says. “In a sense, this is going to be the first time it really has gotten a much larger exposure. In one exhibition it’s going to be seen by more people than it has been in its whole existence! I think that, to me, was one of the highlights, to be able to not only find the piece but also to be able to show it to a larger public.”
Today In History
'Bessie Coleman became the first Black licensed pilot when she was awarded her pilot's certificate in France on this date June 15, 1921.'
(photo: Bessie Coleman)
- CARTER Magazine
itspurvis said: This whole conversation has brought back a memory of a thing I heard in one of my classes but never really got around to looking into. Namely, I've heard that during certain eras; such as the high points of the Songhai empire and suchlike, Africa was actually quite well respected by Europe in general. In particular, I recall hearing of Europeans going to Timbuktu to attend their universities and such. Is there much, or any, truth to this?
Oooh — I really should have made this “worldhistoryminuswhiteguys”. That nearly happened.
Anyways it’s been about four years since my Intro to African Studies course, and alas, I did not keep those books. I think we used “History of Africa” by Kevin Shillington.
There’s quite a bit of truth in the golden age of the Songhai — and their trade in salt, slaves, and gold. There’s also truth in that Timbuktu was considered an educational capital of sorts.
According to the Tarikh al Fettash, Timbuktu was described as having:
…no equal among the cities of the blacks … and was known for its solid institutions, political liberties, purity of morals, security of its people and their goods, compassion towards the poor and strangers, as well as courtesy and generosity towards students and scholars.
In the 15th c. Leo Africanus (a muslim man from Spain) visited Timbuktu, but the implication is that his travels were still largely unique, much like Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo. Certainly the surrounding areas and countries within Africa knew of Timbuktu and its greatness but from what I’ve found it seems difficult to say there was any extensive knowledge about it in Europe at all, outside of Leo Africanus’ expedition. Here’s an easy to read museum supplement for an exhibition on Timbuktu which states that Americans and Europeans “rediscovered” the intellectual wealth of Timbuktu….in the 20th century.
lemongrabmypenis said: I love both yours and MPOC blogs. it really a shame that there is such a spit in terms of how history should be seen, recorded, and studied. I think both of you guys have your valid points when it comes to the history of POC.I have seen both your way and MPOC way of studying history in academia. I just don't think that there is one way to think about history. There are just so many factors involve in history that there can't only be one way to study history.
Without trying to seem glib or flippant — this is essentially the little leagues. Actual academia (i.e. professors and to a lesser extent, the graduate students under them) often have career long disagreements about things.
So to begin with, “academia” is the world of Higher-Ed and research in this sense. And like any other community — there’s going to be a lot of disagreement. That’s actually what keeps history lively, interesting, and keeps us learning. It’s a community of people who are pushing each other and peer review happens. Often. And it’s not always nice.
Explaining I think someone is wrong on an internet forum? Well, people will see - but I don’t find it altogether different in concept from submitting a review to a research journal and explaining I think something about the execution of an article was wrong. And that happens. Typically, you can either take the defensive (maybe the person was wrong), or you can examine the criticism, understand it, and go on to improve.
And then for my second point: MPOC is not a historian academic. They’re simply not an academic — and it shows. And people like that — people want to invest in people “just like them”. I understand why, as I said before I’m first gen on my mother’s side (she raised me) and I worked very hard to be a latina who was good at school. Not everyone will take this path.
But here’s two things:
1.) If experts in their field are held accountable to explaining what they do or know to everyone, then education and knowledge becomes more open. Experts are valuable. People training to be experts hope to achieve this. But you can use the tools of expertise to share what you know with others - and nowadays anyone has the opportunity to do that which can be great.
2.) There is a certain amount of professionalism expected from “experts” or grad students that MPOC just needs to put forth, regardless of whether or not you, or I, or anyone else agrees with them. Things like “well my geography is bad so I didn’t check.” If you told your TA that, do you think they wouldn’t mark you off? We all make mistakes, but they shouldn’t be a consistent issue. Implying “Urraca was muslim.” is just factually wrong. I can argue their placing the importance of skin coloring over societal treatment or context is wrong, I can imply I disagree with using UScentric theory on medieval Europe and it is baffling and unheard of, I can say their treatment of Jewish and Romani history in Europe is spotty at best, I can tell you they don’t understand historiography, periodization, or revisionism very well—
—but at the end of the day my problem is they get things wrong that they shouldn’t be getting wrong at all. Basic things. And when this is pointed out, the response is either “I’m bad at it,” (not very assuring!), or “I’m just using nuance here.” which is frankly, absurd.
So you’re right - there is no one way to study history. But there are some really silly ways, I’m finding. Still, I’m sure Dan Brown will find something of value over there for his next novel.
Above: Marlene Booth (second from left) and family at Passover, Des Moines, Iowa, 1955. Iowa Women’s Archives
Filmmaker Marlene Booth, on growing up Jewish in Iowa:
The first Jews to settle in Des Moines had been German Reform Jews, and their success by assimilation set the tone for all of us. “Don’t make waves, don’t rock the boat,” was - and is - the Des Moines Jewish mantra. My aunts’ concern with my behavior and appearance had everything to do with towing that line. It was not just that I might embarrass Baube and my folks; I also risked bringing shame on my extended family and the whole Jewish community. I had it in my power to behave or to become a shandah for the goyim, a scandal in front of the non-Jews. So I grew up feeling, we all did, that the acceptance and well-being of all Des Moines’ Jews were in our hands. God forbid I should be caught wearing jeans downtown… — "Reel Jewish Families" by Marlene Booth, The Scholar and Feminist Online, 2003
That’s the last of our posts for Jewish Heritage Month, but look forward to related content throughout the year, especially now that we’re almost ready to hire an assistant to head up our Jewish Women in Iowa collecting project. Shalom for now!
Hey y’all, check out the lovely message we got this week about this post:
"Hi, I just wanted to thank you for your post on Marlene Booth. She’s teaching at the University of Hawaii now, and she’s really the sweetest thing ever. Although I heard that she’s a hard teacher, she’s such a wonderful person and she’s doing great work in Hawaii now. :) "
Great to hear!
A clarification of a few things:
- I do not and never would condone abusive anons towards anyone. I hope that no one who follows me would do such a thing. I don’t care if you think the claims are dubious, it’s entirely inappropriate, and something I’ve never personally run up against in my 4 years of history blogging. I’m astounded and appalled.
- That sort of behavior only ruins legitimate dialogue.
- My criticism is entirely based on scholarship and historiography, and I am not going anywhere near discussing character.
- I have absolutely no objection to the history of POC in europe because uh, well, I run a blog about US History which covers roughly MOC, WOC, and white women.
- I did not state any criticism simply because I “wanted more followers”.
In 1942 a young African American Ph.D. in mathematics, David Blackwell, interviewed for a teaching job at Berkeley. He was hired, but not for many years.
When finally invited to join the statistics faculty in 1952, several of Blackwell’s new colleagues told him there was a backstory to his failed application a decade earlier. It had been decided to offer him a position in mathematics, they said, but the wife of the departmental chair, who sometimes invited the faculty to dinner, insisted she would not have a black person in her house — and the offer was squelched.
Blackwell, who eventually became the first tenured black professor in the University of California system, shares this vivid memory in a 10-hour interview with the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO). His life history is part of a recently completed oral-history series on 18 pioneering African American faculty and senior administrators, hired before the advent of affirmative-action policies in the 1970s, who broke barriers and laid the groundwork for those who followed.
"As an actress, Ms. Dee was a bridge between the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary black theater. Inspired by Paul Robeson whom she met at the Schomburg’s American Negro Theater, she helped make artistry as a form of activism real and meaningful for actors as influential as Harry Belafonte and Audra McDonald." —Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
seraph-of-the-muses-deactivated said: This isn't really a question but I felt the urge to send it anyways. I would just like you to know that what you're doing here is good and necessary because history is unfortunately sometimes white-washed. However, much of your technique is biased and intellectually disingenuous. I am a historian with plans to get my PHD in American and European histories. I'm not sure if its on purpose or not that you misinterpret information but, from looking at previous posts, you're doing it to fit an agenda
You’re practically peeing your pants hoping I’ll…what? Get really angry about your vague handwaving in my general direction without actually saying what exactly you have a beef with?
This is the literal definition of trolling. Rather bad trolling, considering you declared your intentions openly, which were just to get a rise out of me, or someone who saw, this I suppose. You also failed to pick something specific that I did or said that you have a problem with, so there’s really nothing for me to even get defensive about.
I think I’ll just walk a wide circle around this one on my way to “go study history better”, which I rather enjoy, and leave you to whatever “coming storm” you’re anticipating with such Rumpelstiltskin-like glee.
"Claiming that Sancho and Urraca were…POC? They were born of the visigoth nobility."
so i guess the argument here is just that POC =/= nobility, that’s some strong analytical thinking there
Pssst. The Visigoths are a nomadic Germanic group of people. From Germany. The Visigoths were Goths, people who migrated South from Scandinavia in roughly the 6th century. The nobility of Al-Andalus (Islamic Hispania) however, also existed.
Recaredo y Obispos. Concilio III de Toledo, año 589. Códice Vigilano, fol. 145, Biblioteca del Escorial.
Council III of Toledo year 589. Toledo being the name given to the Kingdom of the Visigoths in Hispania. 507-725. Those people above are Bishops and they are Visigoth.
Look, here it is bigger:
It’s from Codex Vigilanus (Albeldensis).
It’s almost as if one image on the internet cannot account for the coloration of a person, OR their racial/ethnic makeup.
I mean THIS:
is the same picture as THIS:
It’s almost as if the saturation on a very old manuscript was edited to see more details.