The Department of Arts & Culture presents 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 was held February 13 from 6 – 9 p.m. at Centro de Artes. The exhibitions will be on view through June 28, 2020.
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 Xandra Ibarra, Yvette Mayorga, Efren Ave, Eric J. Garcia, William Camargo, Lisette Chavez, Nabil Gonzalez, Celeste De Luna, Irene Antonia Diane Reece, Jesusa Marie Vargas, Audrya Flores, Lisa Guevara, Kalli Arte Collective, Yvonne Escalante, Daphne Arthur, Michael R. León, Alan Serna, Xavier Robles Armas, Joel “rage.one” Garcia, Josie Del Castillo, Arleene Correa Valencia, Ben Cuevas, Lilia Berenice Hernandez Galusha, Robert Martinez, and Erick Iniguez.
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.