December 4, 2001

Subject: Re: AztlanNet: Re: chamacas en pelotas
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2001 14:25:23 -0800 (PST)
From: Pedro Romero <>

Urrutia's references to the controversy in Santa Fe over A. Lopez's "Our Lady (of What-a-Looker) overlooks that a state-funded cultural institution was propping relevance to this image as "changes in cultural expression". Relevant Hispano/Chicano culture? In my opinion, the piece, along with most of the whole Cyberarte show, was more a capitulation to consumer culture, commodifying Catholic forms to package some "new" product. "Changes" can also include cultural decay and not necessarily cultural progress. To me it was not a moral or gender issue, i.e. right or wrong, but rather, was it intelligent, accurate, and significant, in particular, to the Mejicano and Manito cultural identity? I believe there is a big difference in intellectual responsibility in exhibiting "anywhichway" depictions of La Virgen in a private gallery or home and in a publicly-funded cultural institution, especially of a state that is home to many educated Raza and cultural traditions, and not just art-neanderthals and witchhunters as characterized by Ms. Lopez.

--- wrote:
--- In AztlanNet@y..., gbejarano <aztlannet@y...wrote:
Note: forwarded message attached.
"Pinta Paños . . . Pinta Cueros . . ."
Incarcerated Perceptions

A Multimedia art installation by José Antonio Aguirre

O tempora, o mores...

(I have been chided for asking questions, but if I cannot ask them here, where can I?)

The attached image, "Tatoo man and virgen," is quite interesting to me because of two issues: one technical and the other esthetic/moral. Now for my question: when "judging" art, does one apply the same yardstick?

I ask this because this image is an electronic collage: a painting is melded with a photograph. I don't have any problem with that. As far as I am concerned, art can be created anywhich way the artist can, even if s/he uses elephant dung. Not long ago in this forum, though, the usual suspect attacked a particular composition (and the artist' entire ouvre) as an "electronic collage." Not many, to my recollection, defended the technique. Why isn't this work not criticized along the same lines?

The second is the esthetic/moral connundrum: the image's title purports to represent a "virgen." I automatically, and possibly wrong, thought it was Do~na Lupe. Upon looking at the image, yes, I find that the halo is there, but the image is of a long haired, good looking female who is wearing nothing but a thong. The image is pleasing but the moral part is troublesome: is Do~na Lupe now represented by a nice looking chamaca? What does this say of the artist's thoughts toward the actual Do~na Lupe? Should they be discounted as sensationalization for its own sake or, worse, some erotic longing? When looked at it this way, why aren't the usual suspects attacking this apparent sacrilege as they did in the recent past? Where is the condemnation? Could it be that it is because it is not being exhibited in Santa Fe? Or could it be that there is hardly a ruffle because the author is a man not a lesbian?

Lastly, the work is part of pinto art. Is this "folk" art or just plain art?

Thank you for any enlightenment that you can throw my way and sorry for the divisiveness that I am injecting into the list (but someone has to do the dirty work).

Either way, I like the image but it would certainly raise issues if it was to be hung at my home. My young daughters would certainly want to know why is this woman encuerada (en pelotas! Ah, that sure takes me back! :-)

(And I am not even going to get into the "exploitation" angle :-)