August 2004

 

 

 

From: john_felts@att.net

To: "Alma Lopez"

Subject: Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe"

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 21:29:42 +0000 03

August 04  

Hi Alma,   Although I am not happy about having to forward the attached, I thought that you needed to know:   For your files, and for your information...   J. -- John A. Felts, Los Angeles

 

-------------- Forwarded Message: --------------

From: La Voz de Aztlan

To: john_felts

Subject: Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe"

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 21:17:57 +0000

<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<> <> LA VOZ DE AZTLAN NEWS BULLETIN <> <>.<>.<>

Los Angeles, Alta California

August 3, 2004

Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe"

La Voz de Aztlan has received communications from the Director of the Fullerton Museum Center at Fullerton, California that they will not be exhibiting the highly sacrilegious image of "Guadalupe in a Bikini" by the lesbian artist Alma Lopez. Mr. Joe Felz wrote our publication that the museum will instead exhibit "Maria de Los Angeles", by the same artist, as part of their upcoming "The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion" exhibit that will open on August 28.

Our Editor-in-Chief had previously written to Mr. Felz concerning the "lesbian pornographic symbolism" that can be found in the repugnant and abominable rendering by Alma Lopez of her lover Raquel Salinas in a sapphic pose representing "La Reina de Mexico". The letter from Ernesto Cienfuegos to Mr. Joe Felz is published at http://www.aztlan.net/lupe_fullerton.htm

Recently, a small group of degenerate chicana(o) artists have targeted the "Santa Virgen de Guadalupe" as the focus of their perverted imaginations. Our publisher Hector Carreon wrote an article "Chicanos in Search of their Souls" which addresses the issue. This article is published at http://www.aztlan.net/souls.htm

The "Mexi! can Holy Mother" is one of the most revered religious icons of Mexico and it is extremely unconscionable to "trash" her image in the way some chicana(o) artists have done. Many in the USA and around the world are not familiar with "La Virgen de Guadalupe". Miroslava Flores, our staff writer, wrote a beautiful essay concerning "La Virgen" and of her miraculous apparition to Juan Diego at Tepeyac. The essay titled "Vatican to Canonize Cuauhtlatoahtzin (Juan Diego)" is published at http://www.aztlan.net/juandiego.htm

For our readership that resides or will be in Southern California on August 28 through November 28 and who wish to view the exhibit, the Fullerton Museum Center is located at 301 North Pomona Avenue, Fullerton, California, 92832. Additional information concerning the exhibit "The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion" can be obtained by calling the museum at (714) 738-6545.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * La Voz de Aztlan http://www.aztlan.net/la_virgen_exhibit.htm

 

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 16:09:09 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Alma"

Subject: HOMOPHOBIC DIATRIBE AGAINST ALMA LOPEZ'S WORK BY NEWS SERVICE 'LA VOZ DE AZTL ÁN!' PLEASE READ & HELP!!!!!!!!

To: alma310@yahoo.com

CC: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us

Friends, here we go again.

I am exhibiting an image titled "Maria de Los Angeles" that was created in 1997 in collaboration with Professor J Baca's UCLA's Cesar Chavez Muralism Course.

The exhibit is at the Fullerton Museum Center in Fullerston. Please read the forwarded information, forward to your friends, and send an email of support to Joe Felz, Director of the Fullerton Museum Center at JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us and if you happen to be around, come to the exhibition. Thank you otra vez.

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 15:53:55 -0700

Subject: [LGBT LATINO MEDIA]: [ALERTA/BREAKING NEWS]: HOMOPHOBIC DIATRIBE AGAINST ALMA LOPEZ'S WORK BY NEWS SERVICE 'LA VOZ DE AZTL ÁN!' PLEASE READ & HELP!!!!!!!!

From: "Mónica Taher"

To: "LGBT LATINO ACTIVISTS"

**************************************************************

This is an update from GLAAD's LGBT Latino Media Activist list. Este es un avance noticioso de la lista LGBT Latina de GLAAD. DO NOT REPRODUCE WITHOUT CITING THIS SOURCE.

**************************************************************

Dear Friends, Alma Lopez, well-known lesbian artist, will be exhibiting one of her art pieces at the Fullerton Museum Center (Orange County, CA). La Voz de Aztlán, an online Chicana/o “news service” is trying to censor/boycott Alma’s work.

Please, read [below] the letter that Mr. Cienfuegos [Editor of La Voz de Aztlán] sent to the museum Director, the homophobic Call to Action they sent to their constituents – and most importantly, Alma’s letter to Cienfuegos.

Please – write an quick note to: Joe Felz, in support of Alma’s work at: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us.

LGBT people’s art work should NOT be censored based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity – especially by a so-called news service.

ALERTA

1.    Response to “Open Letter” and Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe".

2.    Exhibition Announcement

3.    “Open Letter”

4.    Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe".

August 3, 2004

Mr. Ernesto Cienfuegos,

This is in response to your “Open Letter” addressed to Mr. Joe Felz, Director of the Fullerton Museum Center as well as your announcement titled “Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe".

Thank you for your continued interest in my visual work.  Your passionate writing is evidence that you obviously spend a considerable amount of your time thinking about it.  Unfortunately, the only correct information in your writing is the fact that I am queer.  The most erroneous information is that Raquel Salinas is my lover.  To my knowledge, Raquel Salinas is not queer. She is a performance artist and a community activist.  

Your other big mistake is regarding which image was to be exhibited. Many months ago the museum had already selected to exhibit “Maria de Los Angeles.”  So I hope you don’t think they were actually taking you seriously.

However, I am impressed that you believe that millions of people in Mexico and throughout the United States have noticed my work.  That is such exaggerated drama!  Especially since I have received less than one thousand emails, and have been featured in only a few news web pages like yours.  You can read them all by logging on to my website at www.almalopez.net.  

I am being modest. If you really want to review my work, I suggest you go to the library or a bookstore to look for some of the following publications: Just Another Poster?: Chicano Graphic Arts in California, University of Washington Press, 2001; Decolonial Voices: Chicana and Chicano Cultural Studies in the 21st Century, edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Naomi H. QuiĖonez, Indiana University Press, 2002; Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: Artists, Works, Culture, and Education, USA: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2002; Chicano-Latino Law Review, Volume 24 Spring 2003; The New Gate Keepers: Emerging Challenges to Freedom of _Expression in the Arts. Edited by Christopher Hawthorne and Andras Szanto. Columbia University, 2004.  Also, articles on your favorite image titled “Our Lady” can be found in several issues of UCLA’s Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies 1999-2004. I

know that you are greatly disappointed to know that the image included in the group exhibition titled “The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion” opening this August 27 at the Fullerton Museum was not “Our Lady” (you call it “Guadalupe in a Bikini).

Since, I am positive that you will continue to dedicate time to writing about my work, I would like for you to have the following correct information about me and the image “Our Lady.”  I was born in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles.  Growing up in Mexico and California, the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe is part of who I am.  As you must well know, her image is everywhere in homes, murals, tattoos, lowriders, candles, clocks, towels, t-shirts, blankets, stickers, keychains, and so on.

Personally, when I see images like “Our Lady” as well as the works portraying the Virgen de Guadalupe by many Chicana artists, I see an alternative voice expressing the multiplicities of our lived realities.  I see Chicanas creating a deep and meaningful connection to this revolutionary cultural female image that appeared to indigenous peoples at a time of genocide, and who served as an inspiration during liberation struggles such as the Mexican Revolution and the Chicano civil rights movement.

As an artist, I feel entitled to express my relationship to her in a way relevant to my own experiences. In doing so, I join many other visual, literary, and performance artists, such as Yolanda Lopez, Ester Hernandez, Santa Barraza, Delilah Montoya, Yreina Cervantez, Sandra Cisneros, and Raquel Salinas, all of whom have shared their own personal experiences in their works of the Virgen de Guadalupe for many decades.

Since you incorrectly title this image “Guadalupe in a Bikini,” you must be interested in fashion.  Therefore, you are most likely curious as to why I dressed “Our Lady” in roses.  Well, the reason is that according to the legend, roses were the proof of her apparition to Juan Diego. As you already must know, abstracted plants and flowers are imprinted on the Virgen’s dress. Amid the other symbolism in her depiction and apparition, flowers and roses connect her to the indigenous people. Xochitl is flower. Xochitlalpan is the flower earth place that can be translated as paradise or heaven.

Even if I look really hard at Our Lady and the works of many Chicana artists, I don’t see what is so offensive.  Maybe because I love women, I see beauty and strength.  By your writing, it is obvious that you have a very different relationship to women than I do.  

I hope this letter has been informative to you.  Next time you are inspired to write about my work, please email me.

Sincerely, Alma Lopez

Cc: Joe Felz, Museum Director of the Fullerton Art Center, and many others.

2. Exhibition Announcement  

The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion

Fullerton Museum Center 301 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832 714-738-6545 * www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/museum

August 28 – November 28, 2004

Opening Reception: Friday, August 27 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The patron saint of Mexico, The Virgin of Guadalupe, is more than a national symbol. Over the last 350 years, her powerful image, complex with symbol and meaning, has become a cultural symbol for the Chicano Movement, a cultural figure for Chicano and Chicana artists, and a recognizable icon in the arena of pop culture. The works of art in this exhibition illustrate three aspects of the Virgin of Guadalupe that contribute to her contemporary interpretation: the devotional image; the use of the image to promote political aims and Mexican national identity; and the artistic use of the image in the United States by Chicano and Chicana artists.           

Featured are Pre-Columbian Aztec sculptures, devotional objects including retablos/paintings, bultos/sculptures, and ex-votos from Mexico and New Mexico, prints by Jose Guadalupe Posada, textiles, ceramics, installations, and photographs spanning a time period of 500 years. The contemporary artists represented in the exhibition include: Roberto Diaz, Ricardo Duffy, Alma Lopez, Yolanda Lopez, Charles Mann, Betsabee Romero, Marianne Sadowski, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, and John Michael Walker.

3. Open Letter

For on-line copy of "Open Letter" go to: http://www.aztlan.net/lupe_fullerton.htm

OPEN LETTER --------------------

Joe Felz Director Fullerton Museum Center Fullerton, California

August 1, 2004

RE: California museum to exhibit highly sacrilegious image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe"

Dear Mr. Felz: Our news publication, La Voz de Aztlan, has received your press release concerning the planned exhibit "The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion" to open on August 28. Your press release mentions that as part of the exhibit, you will be including the highly offensive "Guadalupe in a Bikini" by the decadent lesbian artist Alma Lopez.

Sir, you may not be aware but the image has extremely sexually deviant symbolism and has already been condemned by millions of Mexicans here in the USA and in Mexico. Firstly, the person in the Sapphic pose representing the "Mother of Jesus" is nothing less than Raquel Salinas, the lesbian lover of the so called artist Alma Lopez.  Raquel Salinas calls herself "La Chuparosa" which Alma Lopez often depicts on her abominable images.

For a full description of the sexually deviant lesbian connotations of "Chuparosa" and of other symbolisms in Lopez' rendering of "La Reina de Mexico", please read our editorial "Chicana Lesbians Denigrate La Virgen de Guadalupe" which can be read on our website on the Internet at http://aztlan.net/lupe.htm

In addition, the rendering of "Tonatzin" by the decadent lesbian Alma Lopez has been promoted by many USA based pornographers. Please read the following article at http://www.dazereader.com/almalopez.htm

Mr. Felz, we would like to think that you are merely ignorant of the facts and not involved in an anti-Mexican effort to destroy our most revered spiritual beliefs and cultural values. We would like to believe that the City of Fullerton's intentions for "The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion" exhibit is to extend the hand of friendship to the large and growing Mexican population of Orange County and not to, like many anti-Mexicans xenophobes, to denigrate the values of our community in collusion with those in the homosexual and lesbian lifestyles and with others who have a deep hate against us.

We are requesting that you refrain from exhibiting these and other offensive and abominable renderings of the Mexican  "Holy Mother".

Please, let us know before the City of Fullerton City Council's meeting of August 3, of your decision to refrain from destroying the faith based beliefs of the youths who attend Fullerton's educational systemand of those others in our community.

Respectfully, Ernesto Cienfuegos Editor-in-Chief La Voz de Aztlan

---------------------- http://www.aztlan.net Copy: Mayor of Fullerton, California Mike Clesceri and others

OPEN LETTER published at http://www.aztlan.net/lupe_fullerton.htm

 

4. Aztlan Announcement Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe"  

LA VOZ DE AZTLAN NEWS BULLETIN Los Angeles, Alta California

August 3, 2004

Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe"

La Voz de Aztlan has received communications from the Director of the Fullerton Museum Center at Fullerton, California that they will not be exhibiting the highly sacrilegious image of "Guadalupe in a Bikini" by the lesbian artist Alma Lopez.

Mr. Joe Felz wrote our publication that the museum will instead exhibit "Maria de Los Angeles", by the same artist, as part of their upcoming "The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion" exhibit that will open on August 28.

Our Editor-in-Chief had previously written to Mr. Felz concerning the "lesbian pornographic symbolism" that can be found in the repugnant and abominable rendering by Alma Lopez of her lover Raquel Salinas in a sapphic pose representing "La Reina de Mexico".

The letter from Ernesto Cienfuegos to Mr. Joe Felz is published at http://www.aztlan.net/lupe_fullerton.htm

Recently, a small group of degenerate chicana(o) artists have targeted the "Santa Virgen de Guadalupe" as the focus of their perverted imaginations. Our publisher Hector Carreon wrote an article "Chicanos in Search of their Souls" which addresses the issue. This article is published at http://www.aztlan.net/souls.htm

The "Mexi! can Holy Mother" is one of the most revered religious icons of Mexico and it is extremely unconscionable to "trash" her image in the way some chicana(o) artists have done. Many in the USA and around the world are not familiar with "La Virgen de Guadalupe". Miroslava Flores, our staff writer, wrote a beautiful essay concerning "La Virgen" and of her miraculous apparition to Juan Diego at Tepeyac. The essay titled "Vatican to Canonize Cuauhtlatoahtzin (Juan Diego)" is published at http://www.aztlan.net/juandiego.htm

For our readership that resides or will be in Southern California on August 28 through November 28 and who wish to view the exhibit, the Fullerton Museum Center is located at 301 North Pomona Avenue, Fullerton, California, 92832. Additional information concerning the exhibit "The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion" can be obtained by calling the museum at (714) 738-6545.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * La Voz de Aztlan http://www.aztlan.net/la_virgen_exhibit.htm

 

 

Subject: RE:_HOMOPHOBIC_DIATRIBE_AGAINST_ALMA_LOPEZ'S_WORK_BY_N EWS_SERVICE_'LA_VOZ_DE_AZTL_ÁN!'_PLEASE_ READ_&_HELP!!!!!!!!

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 16:35:29 -0700

From: "Carlos A. Garcia"

To: "Alma"

Hi Alma- Thanks for sending me this info. I can't believe that Ernesto is still on the prowl for Queer Chican@ Activists. He went all over the campus to try and get one of my e-board members from La Familia into trouble but was brushed off by our Student Life Director. Please keep me in the loop on any upcoming showings you may have, and I will try to make it to the show's opening!

Un abrazo, cg

Carlos Garcia, Administrative Trainee Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs La Familia de Cal Poly Pomona California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 3801 West Temple Avenue Pomona, CA 91768

 

 

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 16:58:50 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: In support of Ms. Lopez's work

From: "Marta Donayre"

To: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us CC: alma310@sbcglobal.net

Dear Mr. Felz,

I am writing in support of the art exhibit of Ms. Alma Lopez’s work to be displayed in your museum.

I am not familiar with Ms. Lopez’s work, but I am familiar with incendiary commentaries about images of the Virgen de Guadalupe, such as the one you received from Mr. Ernesto Cienfuegos. It is his letter to you that prompted me to write today. I am a Latina, even though my background is not Mexican.

After arriving in the United States in 1995 I was introduced to the Virgen of Guadalupe in various stages. My first introduction to Her was in the mid-90s when I visited Mexico City with my parents. After that, I had a gradual acquaintance with Her, and I am comfortable to describe Her as one of the leading figures in my life. Whether you call Her Guadalupe or Tonantzin, I know who you are talking about. The Virgen the Guadalupe is an icon for many people.

Yet at many levels, She seems to be owned by men. You see Her on manly tattoos, as a sticker on the back of pickup trucks and SVUs, on a tee-shirt worn by a man, etc. Guadalupe/Tonantzin is the Sacred Feminine, the Creator of the Universe and somehow She also is an embellishment of men’s outer image. I strongly believe that these men are devout to the Virgin, at the same time I find it ironic that you see Her imagery mostly on men.

There seems to be a strong desire by women, particularly artists, to reclaim the image for themselves. In a very oppressive sexist culture, reclaiming the Sacred Feminine has been a priority of many female artists. I proudly join in this category, even though my works are not ready for the public eye.

What Mr. Cienfuegos is attempting to do is to silence the voice of those who threaten the status quo. Modifying the image of the Virgen the Guadalupe does this at many levels. First, it challenges the “male ownership” of this image. Second, it challenges the place of women in society.

Both of these make people like Mr. Cienfuegos very uncomfortable. This indicates that Ms. Lopez is fulfilling her job as an artist by raising serious questions, and potentially changing the world we live in for the better. I urge you to please continue with your plan to have Ms. Lopez’s exhibit.

This kind of debate and imagery is exactly what the community (both Latino and lesbian) needs to continue working towards the common good of all. Ms. Lopez’s work is already raising the kind of questions good art raises, and your museum would benefit from having this dialogue start here.

Your resolve to continue with this exhibition will send a strong message to people like Mr. Cienfuegos who are opposed to freedom of expression, and freedom of any kind at all.

You are in a position to take a stand for what is right, and I urge you to take it.

Respectfully, - Marta Donayre

Co-Founder Love Sees No Borders

Raising Public Awareness of the Plight of Same-sex Binational Couples and Their Fight to Remain Together.

www.loveseesnoborders.org

 

 

 

 

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 17:18:02 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Victoria Delgadillo"

Subject: Re: HOMOPHOBIC DIATRIBE AGAINST ALMA LOPEZ'S WORK BY NEWS SERVICE 'LA VOZ DE AZTL ÁN!' PLEASE READ & HELP!!!!!!!!

To: "Alma"

CC: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us

Ernesto Cienfuegos hosts a hateful website, which no one with an education would subscribe to or believe in.  When the Voz de Aztlan editors (two life-mates, I think) are confronted about the hateful bigotry they spew---they hide behind their website and will not come out face to face.   As far as I know, their hateful fervor has not yet compelled them to go out at night stalking and hunting down the objects of their hate----but with these stoic types, that could only be a matter of time.  At this point, they only have enough nerve to manipulate the issues by reporting you to your boss (if you wrote to them from your work), or, as in this instance---threaten to report you to the city council.  They do not have a legitimate office where they conduct business, they only have a post office box and email.  One can only image the drudgery of their lack luster day jobs--where they bide their time waiting to come alive on their underground website, which no one reads.  The majority of their articles are written by them, and for their own amusement.  They are neither legitimate voices, much less voices of the culture of Aztlan.   Sadly, while great artists like Alma Lopez are contributing to society through their intelligence, vision, study, teaching and hard work-----these guys can only try to ride your back like a tick wishing to get recognized.  They’re really not even worth the energy required to flick them off.  

In community, Victoria Delgadillo

 

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 17:23:12 -0700

Subject: SUPPORT ALMA LOPEZ

From: "Monica Palacios"

To: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us

CC: "Alma Lopez , "Monica Taher

Dear Mr. Felz, Alma Lopez is a world renowned artist and a great friend. Her work is contemporary and will take us into the future.

It is extremely disturbing that Mr. Cinfuegos has written such a hateful letter to you about such an honest, creative and powerful artist like Ms. Lopez who cares greatly for her Mexican culture. He does not speak for all Mexicanos and he certainly does not speak for me, a well respected Chicana lesbian writer/performer who continues to create work from my two cultures and for my two cultures.

I happen to be very familiar with the art piece, "Our Lady," that Mr. Cinfuegos calls blasphemous. "Our Lady" which is an incredible, powerful and beautiful image, is on the cover of an anthology that my work is in called: Puro Teatro, A Latina Anthology, an award winning book that is required in many college courses.

Mr. Cinfuegos has to catch up to the 21st Century and get with the program and stop spreading hate and ignorance. I am more than certain that his publication La Voz de Aztlan, has had the support of many Latino/Latina LGBT people but after his venomous homophobic announcement to his readers, you can bet that he will no longer have their support.

Mr. Felz, you invited Ms. Lopez to exhibit her work in your distinguished museum because she is a highly qualified artist. Please continue to support her work and her piece: "Our Lady." Do the right thing.

Sincerely, Monica Palacios

A proud Alma Lopez supporter!

 

 

 

Subject: FW: alma lopez jpg Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 17:11:15 -0700

From: "Joe Felz"

To: alma310@sbcglobal.net

CC: labate08@sbcglobal.net, "John Karwin , "Aimee Aul", "Ruth Leopold", "Sylvia Palmer"

Hi Alma - Here was the letter sent to Cienfuegos yesterday. I don't need to tell you how deceptive his response is. I'll be meeting with our Attorney tonight on another matter and hope he can provide me with some advise. In the meantime, we are focused on producing the best exhibit possible. I hope you are already planning to attend the opening reception, and I look forward to meeting you in person. Joe

Mr. Cienfuegos - The information contained in your letter dated August 1, 2004, is incorrect. The Fullerton Museum Center is not displaying the image you refer to as "Guadalupe in a Bikini" as you claimed.

Our press release, which you reference in your letter/website publication, does not contain the information you reported. As we discussed, our exhibit will include numerous religious, cultural and historical objects and artifacts to illustrate the rich history and significance of the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Included in the contemporary art section of the exhibit is one piece by artist Alma Lopez entitled "Maria de Los Angeles." The piece was created to honor a resident of Los Angeles known for her dedication and work with children. I have attached a photo of the artwork.

In order to accurately inform the community, the Museum requests that you correct the error as published on your website in the form of the open letter dated August 1, 2004.

Please do not hestitate to contact me should you have any further questions or concerns. Joe Felz, Director Fullerton Museum Center

 

 

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 17:30:02 -0700

Subject: Dear Mr. Felz

From: "Mónica Taher"

To: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us

Dear Mr. Felz, I have known of Alma Lopez's work for quite some time now. I value not only its quality - but her creativity. I wish we, the Latina/o community, had more artists like Alma Lopez whose only "sin" is to challenge her own talent. I will visit the Fullerton Museum because I like her work - and I hope you consider not taking Mr. Cienfuegos, a homophobic and anti-Semitic activist, serious. You can not take someone serious when the only thing they preach about is hatred.

Respectfully, Mónica Taher

People of Color Media Director

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

5455 Wilshire Blvd, #1500 Los Angeles, CA 90036 323.634.2025 t 213.713.5549 c 323.933.2241 f taher@glaad.org www.glaad.org The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

 

 

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 21:59:54 -0700

Subject: [LGBT LATINO MEDIA]: FOLLOW-UP ON DIATRIBE AGAINST ALMA LOPEZ'S WORK -THE MUSEUM IS GOING AHEAD WITH THE EXHIBIT DESPITE LA VOZ DE AZTLAN!

From: "Mónica Taher"

To: "LGBT LATINO ACTIVISTS"

**************************************************************

This is an update from GLAAD's LGBT Latino Media Activist list. Este es un avance noticioso de la lista LGBT Latina de GLAAD. DO NOT REPRODUCE WITHOUT CITING THIS SOURCE.

**************************************************************

Friends! Thanks for ALL your e-mails! Below you will find the letter that the museum's Director sent to La Voz de Aztlan's Editor, Mr. Cienfuegos. The museum will go ahead with Alma's piece. He did not let La Voz intimidate him. In fact, he is talking to the museum's attorneys. This is the power of "la unidad." Mil gracias a toda/os! Mónica

 

 

From: "John Felts"

To: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us

Subject: Maria de Los Angeles

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 22:23:40 -0700  

Mr. Joe Felz, Director Fullerton Museum Center  

Dear Mr. Felz,   The reason for my communication is that I currently standing witness to an injustice being promoted by, who at best, I choose to identify as a very loud bully.  

Ms. Alma Lopez is a widely-known local artist who was to be exhibiting one of her pieces art, “Maria de Los Angeles” at the Fullerton Museum Center starting 28 August 2004.  

My understanding of the situation is that Mr. Ernesto Cienfuegos, "Editor-in-Chief" of the La Voz de Aztlan "Email News Letter" and website (http://www.aztlan.net/index.html) wrote to you and apparently changed your mind or simply scared you.  

Mr. Felz, I am neither Gay, Latino, or a Person of Color for that matter.  I am a 49 year old Construction Executive that works for one of the largest, aggressive and well known Real Estate Development Corporations in the State of California.  I am well educated and am  knowledgeable relevant to local Art and local Artists.   I have read what I believe to be most, if not all of the current demands and highly inflammatory "ALLEGATIONS" made by Mr. Cienfuegos and regard most of the information simply erroneous and truly poisonous in nature.   Additionally, I was able to read Ms. Lopez's response letter(s) to both you and Mr. Cienfuegos and find creditability, as well as pragmatic reason, in favor of Alma's recount and response related to the facts.  

In closing Sir, and metaphorically speaking, my perception of the situation can be summed-up by my asking you not to let "the inmates run the asylum!"  It would truly be a shame for you to allow La Voz de Aztlan and Mr. Cienfuegos the ability and leverage of the censorship/boycott of Alma Lopez’s work.   If we bow-down to this kind of intimidation and allow entities that are representative of one man's opinion, and we allow them to discourage and/or frighten us with censorship/boycott and/or allow misinformation or threats, it will be another sad day for our culture.   

I am sure that if you were to take some time, check all of the facts, and you were to visit Mr. Cienfuegos' website, your perception regarding this issue would change immediately.  

Very truly yours,   John A. Felts

 

 

Subject: letter to idiota Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 10:45:12 -0700

From: "Retter, Yolanda"

To: alma310@sbcglobal.net

Hombrecito, Why dont you concentrate on the way women are mis/treated all over the world and murdered in Juarez? Just like white people dont understand Chicano art, Chicano males como usted dont understand Chicana _expression. Why not? Because you are (according to gente who know you),  muy inseguro and you use the pretexto of protecting the Virgen but do not walk the talk when it comes to protecting real live women. The content of your little web site shows that. You are another sad example of why women all over the world are repressed by little males como usted. La virgen will provide for us. Yolanda Vargas

 

 

Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 18:26:12 -0700

Subject: FW: Alma Lopez Versus the Hispanic Taliban

From: "Mónica Taher"

To: "Alma"

Alex, Thanks!! Abrazos, MT

------

Forwarded Message

From: Alex Ortega

Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 09:35:41 -0700 (PDT)

To: JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us

Cc: taher@glaad.org

Subject: Alma Lopez Versus the Hispanic Taliban

Dear Mr. Joe Felz,

This email is in response to Mr. Ernesto Cienfuego's email and open letter to you.

First of all, thank you for your effort to include cutting-edge Chicana artists like Alma Lopez in the continuing artistic dialogue in Orange County. It is truly unfortunate that right-wing zealots like Mr. Cienfuegos feel they can speak for millions of Chicanas/os and Mexicans.

I, for one, am glad and greatful for the work of artists like Ms. Lopez. I can't wait to see her work displayed at the Fullerton Museum Center.

As for Mr. Cienfuegos, I do not want to live in a Taliban-like world where self-styled community spokespersons decide what is artistically relevant or of "good taste."

Again, thank you for including --instead of excluding-- artists like Ms. Lopez.

Sincerely, Alex Ortega

 

From: Sanchez, Louis

Sent: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 3:25 PM

To: 'JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us.'

Subject: La Voz de Aztlan

Joe Felz, Director

Fullerton Museum Center

 

Dear Mr. Felz,

This is in regards to Ernesto Cienfuegos, Editor in Chief of the La Voz de Aztlan and the exhibition of the artwork of Alma Lopez at your museum.

The letter written by Cienfuegos regarding the work of Alma Lopez is disturbing and hateful. I hope you and the museum do not take this man seriously.

The work of Alma Lopez is contemporary, challenging and should not be censored.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope to be able to see the exhibition.

Sincerely, Louis Sanchez

 

Subject: RE: response to La Voz and factual information re: exhibit

Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 14:47:09 -0700

From: "Joe Felz"

To: "Alma", gdenomie@rcbo.org, labate08@sbcglobal.net, "Sylvia Palmer , "Ruth Leopold", "Bishop Jaime Soto

Hello - This is the response that I will be sending shortly to all of the inquiries we have rec'd based on the inaccurate stories from the "La Voz" website. This has been reviewed and approved by our Attorneys as well as by other City and Museum officials.

Please do not hesitate to forward this to others, along with the original press release for the exhibit (also attached).

Regarding inquiries from the press, our policy is that we do NOT give out your contact information. We will continue to coordinate press requests for interviews, photos, etc. with any artist, curator, advisor, etc. through Ruth Leopold or Sylvia Palmer. Their contact information is included on all public information. If someone contacts you regarding the exhibit, please feel free to refer them to Ruth Leopold at 714-738-3338 or her e-mail at ruthl@ci.fullerton.ca.us.

Thanks for your time and support. As always, please call me at 714-738-6589 if you have any questions or comments.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the opening reception! Joe

August 5, 2004

RE: Alma Lopez artwork at the Fullerton Museum Center

Thank you for your e-mail regarding our upcoming “Virgen de Guadalupe” exhibit.

Recently, a website called “La Voz de Aztlan” published two articles regarding the upcoming “Virgen de Guadalupe” exhibit. Both articles purported to be written by Mr. Cienfuegos.

The first article, written in the form of an open letter to me, alleged the Museum’s press release stated the exhibit would contain an artwork by Alma Lopez which the writer called “Guadalupe in a Bikini.” (The actual title of the work in question, according to Ms. Lopez, is “Our Lady.”) The writer protested what he said was the inclusion of this artwork in our exhibit.

After reading the letter, I contacted Mr. Cienfuegos and told him the information he had published was inaccurate in that we were not - nor had we planned on - exhibiting the work in question. We were, in fact, planning to exhibit an entirely different work by Ms. Lopez titled “Maria de Los Angeles,” which honors a woman who has done much for the people of Los Angeles.

Rather than correcting his inaccurate article, Mr. Cienfuegos instead published a follow-up piece Aug. 3 which implied that, based on the information that he provided us, the “Lady” piece had been removed, and the Museum would “instead” exhibit “Maria de Los Angeles.”

Again, this is a completely inaccurate statement on his part as the “Lady” piece was never considered for this exhibit. The piece “Maria de Los Angeles” was selected months ago by our guest curator for inclusion in the exhibit.  During the time she was researching possible artwork for the exhibit, our guest curator considered several of Ms. Lopez’ works, as well as works by numerous other artists. She eventually selected “Maria de Los Angeles” as the piece that best fit the curatorial themes in the exhibit.

Based on his two articles, it seems apparent Mr. Cienfuegos is not interested in the facts pertaining to our exhibit. As you might imagine, it is difficult to counter inaccurate information spread through the internet.

I hope this message will help allay any concerns prompted by the inaccurate Cienfuegos articles. We are meeting with the Museum’s Board of Directors and legal advisors to determine possible further courses of action.

We are confident in the work of our guest curator, Lynn LaBate, a highly-respected curator and educator, and we look forward to including Ms. Lopez’ work, as originally planned, in the exhibit.

If you are interested in attending the exhibit, please visit our website at HYPERLINK "http://www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/museum" www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/museum for further details.

If you have further questions or concerns regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me at (714) 738-6589. 

Again, thank you for your recent e-mail and interest in our upcoming exhibit.   Joe Felz, Director Fullerton Museum Center

Attachment: Original press release on “Virgen de Guadalupe” exhibit

 

press release 13504

subject: interpreting virgin of guadalupe focus of museum exhibit

date: july 15, 2004

contact: joe felz director, fullerton museum center (714) 738-6589 or sylvia palmer mudrick public information coordinator (714) 738-6317

for immediate release

She is one of the most recognizable images in the world, symbolic not only of faith and hope, but of a nation and its culture, as well. “She” is the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, and a mainstay of the Catholic religion. Said to have appeared nearly 500 years ago on a hillside north of Mexico City, She remains a potent icon whose image continues to exert power and influence today.

This embrace of the Virgin’s image by diverse groups for different purposes will be explored in “The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion,” a new exhibition opening at the Fullerton Museum Center Saturday, Aug. 28.

A special preview reception of the exhibit will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27. Organized by guest curator, Lynn LaBate, a specialist in Latin American art, and the museum staff, the exhibit will illustrate three aspects of the Virgin of Guadalupe that contribute to a contemporary interpretation of the icon: the devotional image; the use of the image to promote political aims and Mexican national identity; and the use of the image by Chicano artists in the United States as a cultural or personal identifier.

Spanning a period of 500 years, items on display in the exhibition will include pre-Columbian Aztec sculptures; devotional objects, including retablos (paintings), bultos (sculptures), and ex-votos from Mexico and New Mexico; prints by Jose Guadalupe Posada; textiles, ceramics; installations; and photographs.

Contemporary artists represented will include Yreina Cervantes, Roberto Diaz, Ricardo Duffy, Alma Lopez, Pattsi Lopez, Yolanda Lopez, Charles Mann, Betsabee Romero, Marianne Sadowski, John Michael Walker, and John Valadez.

Participating lenders for the exhibit include UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History and the Museum of the American West.

The exhibit runs through Nov. 28.

The award-winning Fullerton Museum Center, named the “Outstanding Arts Organization” for 2003 by Arts Orange County, a nonprofit county-wide arts council, is located at 301 N. Pomona Ave., east of Harbor Boulevard, in downtown Fullerton. Museum Center hours are noon-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon – 8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for students with student identification and senior citizens 65 and older, $1 for children 6 to 12, and free to children under 5 and to members of the Fullerton Museum Center. Admission is $1 for all visitors from 4-8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. Admission to the preview reception is $10 for adults and $5 for children 5- 5-12. Admission will include dinner, a curator’s talk, and live entertainment. Reception reservations and further information about the exhibit may be obtained by

 

Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 18:35:38 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Lea E Arellano"

Subject: Re: I am sorry mujer that you are being mistreated and I will stand by your side!

To: "Alma"

Hijole Alma, The caca gets thick around completely confused full of hate homophobes so I am apoligizing to you for them because they do not know any better. Thanks for not stopping to create your art work. Thanks for this beautiful image you just sent. We here in the Bay Area are rooting for you and us cause we are the same. A familia of brillaint queer artists. With massive respect y carino, La Lea aka Chola Priest PS My show will be in Oct not sure of dates or venue but I will invite you por suguro que hell yes.

 

From: "Nunn, Tey"

To: "'JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us'"

CC: "'alma310@sbcglobal.net' , "Nunn, Tey"

Subject: Maria de los Angeles

Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 09:20:15 -0600

Dear Joe,  

I am writing to you to offer my support for your upcoming exhibit "The Virgen of Guadalupe:  Interpreting Devotion." 

I understand there are some agitators who wish to interfere with the original curatorial intent of the exhibit and have a work by Alma Lopez removed from the exhibit.  

Complying with their request would be Censorship--pure and simple.  

Additionally, from everything I have read on the subject, Mr.. Cienfuegos has not taken the time to adequately prepare himself for his confrontation with you, the artist and the institution.  If he had, he would have educated himself about Chicana/o art and culture as well as the significance of this particular, Maria de los Angeles.    

I strongly urge you and your institution not to succumb to the pressure of a few but rather to continue the mission of museums and gallery spaces and  to showcase creativity and educate your visitors on multiple perspectives in a ever-changing world.  Culture, art and religion are not stagnant but rather change and adapt with the times.    

Joe, I have been exactly where you are right now as I was the curator of the Cyber Arte exhibition in Santa Fe.  If I can be of any further help or give any advice, please do not hesitate to call.  

I wish I could be at the opening. But alas I will be in LA the week before.  It sounds like a fabulous show.  Will there be a catalog?  If so, I would like to purchase a few copies.  

All the best  

Tey  

Tey Marianna Nunn, Ph.D.

Curator of Contemporary Hispano and Latino collections

Museum of International Folk Art

 

Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 09:54:04 -0700

Subject: FW: [LGBT LATINO MEDIA]: A MESSAGE FROM ARTIST ALMA LOPEZ FOR YOU - GRACIAS!

From: "Mónica Taher"

To: "Alma

From Antonio Rael.. ------

Forwarded Message From: ArtistRael@aol.com

Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 23:23:54 EDT

To: taher@glaad.org

Subject: Re: [LGBT LATINO MEDIA]: A MESSAGE FROM ARTIST ALMA LOPEZ FOR YOU - GRACIAS!

Alma, I am so sorry to hear about the censorship. I AM glad that you informed us, because we need to know which obstacles of ignorance exist out there (Cienfuegos)...in order to overcome them, move them, go around them, and educate others in order to be fair and maintain the integrity of our freedom in this country to express ourselves. The best of luck on your show. Sincerely and Respectfully, Antonio Rael

 

Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 11:00:15 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Victoria Delgadillo"

Subject: Re: La voz de nada

To: "Alma"

Hey Alma---I got a letter from Joe Felz yesterday.  Again, stating the truth and the details on this exhibit---countering the lies. Also---(I think) I saw something about a meeting with the community, the museum board and legal advisors.  Apparently, it seems that the museum is thinking of taking legal action against those Voz dudes.  I would really like to attend that meeting--if its true.  Do you know anything about it.  I'm sorry that these idiots are keeping you from going to your own opening-----and even though I am not one for  visual or verbal censorship (to me those dudes have the right to have their own opinion),  however--- when it comes to slander---that's another issue.  Those bastards need to come down.  Every dog has their day and I (for one) would like to see these perros put back in their pen.  ---Victoria

 

From: "Ice, Joyce"

To: "'JoeF@ci.fullerton.ca.us'"

CC: "'alma310@sbcglobal.net'", "Nunn, Tey"

Subject: FW: Stand firm

Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 21:19:45 -0600 >

 

Dear Joe,

I want to offer my support to you and your staff in this difficult situation. I know from experience the pressures and fears that arise when protesters threaten your job and your institution. Alma Lopez is a courageous artist whose work deserves to be exhibited and whose voice needs to be heard. Efforts to silence women, artists, minorities, lesbians and anyone who dares to take a different point of view run counter to the civil liberties that are the very basis of American society. It is not controversy that we should be afraid of but the chilling effects of censorship.

I would suggest you contact the AAM Government Affairs office in DC for advice if you haven't already done so. Know that you are not alone and there are many people who care and support your efforts to share the works of these artists. Please feel free to call or email if I can help in any way.

Sincerely,

Joyce Ice, Ph.D.

Director

Museum of International Folk Art

 

August 20, 2004

Mr. Will Swaim, Editor

OC Weekly

E-mail: wswaim@ocweekly.com

Dear Will,

I am writing in response to the recent article “Nuestra Senora de Censorship” by Gustavo Arellano (“OC Weekly” August 20, 2004).

The entire article is based on inaccurate information obtained from the website “La Voz de Aztlan.” Gustavo never contacted me, our guest curator, or any museum representative regarding the “Virgin of Guadalupe” exhibit. I was contacted briefly by Mr. Beltran, and I sent him the information indicating the “La Voz” stories were inaccurate. Had Gustavo researched this issue, he would have discovered there is no story nor any “controversy” surrounding the work of Alma Lopez and her participation in our upcoming exhibit.

To clarify a few of the statements made in the article:

We have never “censored” the selections of our guest curator, Lynn LaBate, nor have we censored the work of Alma Lopez. The piece “Maria de Los Angeles” was selected months ago by LaBate for inclusion in the exhibit.  During the time she was researching possible artwork for the exhibit, she considered several of Ms. Lopez’ works, as well as works by numerous other artists. She eventually selected “Maria de Los Angeles” as the piece that best fit the curatorial themes in the exhibit. Again, based on the theme of the exhibit, the “Our Lady” was not one of the works considered for the upcoming exhibit.

Regarding Gustavo’s statement that “there would be no naked Virgins” in our exhibit, we have never had any discussion, agreement, or any other communications with the Diocese of Orange, or anyone else, regarding this matter. I am not aware that any naked Virgin of Guadalupe images were proposed for our exhibit.

The Catholic Church never “went nuts” over any aspect of the exhibit. The representatives of the Catholic Church have never attempted to influence the works selected for the exhibit.

Mr. Arellano states that “it’s no stretch then to figure that Soto’s opposition to ‘Our Lady’ played a role in its exclusion.” Obviously, since “Our Lady” was never considered for the exhibit, there was no “opposition” by Bishop Soto, no “exclusion” by the Museum, etc. Bishop Soto is among a group of community advisors who have assisted us in producing the exhibit.

The facts pertaining to this are that the website called “La Voz de Aztlan” recently published two articles regarding the upcoming “Virgen de Guadalupe” exhibit. Both articles were written by a Mr. Cienfuegos.

The first article, written in the form of an open letter to me, alleged the Museum’s press release stated the exhibit would contain an artwork by Alma Lopez which the writer called “Guadalupe in a Bikini.” (The actual title of the work is “Our Lady.”) The writer protested what he said was the inclusion of this artwork in our exhibit.

After reading the letter, I contacted Mr. Cienfuegos and told him the information he had published was inaccurate in that we were not - nor had we ever planned on - exhibiting the work in question. We were, in fact, planning to exhibit a work by Ms. Lopez titled “Maria de Los Angeles,” which honors a woman who has done much for the people of Los Angeles, and includes artistic references key to the theme of our exhibit.

Rather than correcting his inaccurate article, Mr. Cienfuegos instead published a follow-up piece Aug. 3 which implied that, based on the information that he provided us, the “Lady” piece had been “removed,” and the Museum would “instead” exhibit “Maria de Los Angeles.” Again, this is a completely inaccurate statement as the “Our Lady” piece was not considered for this exhibit.

As I stated earlier, the piece “Maria de Los Angeles” was selected months ago by our guest curator for inclusion in the exhibit.  During the time she was researching possible artwork for the exhibit, our guest curator considered several of Ms. Lopez’ works, as well as works by numerous other artists. She eventually selected “Maria de Los Angeles” as the piece that best fit the curatorial themes in the exhibit, one of nearly 100 pieces exploring this cultural icon.

It is clear that Gustavo based his story on the inaccurate information contained on the “La Voz” website. Again, he never spoke to me, our guest curator, or any museum representative regarding the exhibit. In addition, I have seen the correspondence from “La Voz de Aztlan” indicating that they refused to speak to the Weekly, instead referring you to the information on their website. To base an article entirely on “information” from a source such as the “La Voz de Aztlan” website is questionable.

We are confident in the work of our guest curator, Lynn LaBate, a highly-respected curator and educator. We also look forward to including Ms. Lopez' work, as originally planned, in the exhibit.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (714) 738-6589.

Sincerely,

Joe Felz, Director

Fullerton Museum Center