December 6, 2001

Subject: Fwd: AztlanNet: Re: chamacas en pelotas
Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2001 17:26:10 -0000
From: "jmup2000" <>

--- In AztlanNet@y..., Pedro Romero <romesedeno@y...> wrote:
> --- jmup2000 <urrutia@h...> wrote:
> > What Romero forgets is that this "relevant" culture
> > represents only part of the Chicano/Hispano
> experience. Does he think that Hispanos of
> > Nuevo Mexico are the ones who can dictate what is
> > relevant? IMNSHO, no.
> If urrutia finds Lopez´s poster relevant, fine, to each his own. I personally thought it was stupid. At issue for me was that the Museum of New Mexico was validating this as relevant and significant and I chose to differ with this cultural gatekeeper´s (the curator´s) notions.

Ah, ya salio' a relumbrir el cobre. If any of Romero's work had been included in the exhibit, would he have been so willing to call the curator a gatekeeper? Why is it that when curators do not agree with anyone that person feels authorized to label them gatekeepers? But I suppose it is all within the social dynamic. If they are with us, they are our champions, if they are against us, they are gatekeepers, even though all curators cannot be so pigeonholed.

> > Hummm. Last time I checked, consummer culture did
> > not include the
> > mass-production of Chicano art, however kitshy it
> > may look.
> Sure! Look at the PT Cruiser.

I disagree. To call it Chicano inspired is to not acknowledge that "white" car enthusiasts have produced similar vehicles. After spending much time at auto museums, I come to the conclusion that car culture freely borrows from all influences. To claim that the low-rider concept of the late 40s is the only source is too simplistic an answer. Unless Romero can provide a taxonomy of "cruisers," I will not accept it.

> >I am interested in a critical comparison
> > between this
> > particular example of Lopez' work with that of a
> > pinto, where both use similar cultural icons.
> La Lupe´s aura does not a girlie poster unmake.

This applies equally to "Our Lady."

> >Who says that both works are examples
> > of "cultural decay?"
> I´m not. The pinto´ image isn´t being validated by the Museum of New Mexico.

This means nothing. I already saw some samples of pinto art in a museum. It is just a matter of time for when similar images will be in the "mainstream." Anyway, it is clear that "validation" is what Romero is after.

> > So, it boils down to a question of censorship and
> > who pays the piper.
> I believe a publicly-funded museum has a responsibility to educate intelligently. Girlie

Certainly, but no one is going to respond favorably to being clobbered with threats.

> posters and computers installed upon altars don´t seem

Uh? Didn't Romero state that using the halo does not a girlie poster make? And what is wrong with posters? Just because they are not painted with watercolors or oils? What then to make of the recent offer in this lista of ink-jet prints as "Chicano Art?"

> too bright to me. The show has come and gone; censorship is not the issue now, the issue of the

The censorship issue will not go away, no matter what Romero thinks. The next time that a show with Chicano ingredients is proposed, the museum, its sponsors, and the artists will think long and hard if it is worth the hassle.

> work´s shaky intellectual merit remains so. Also at

Maybe. But then the arena changes. All other work will have to be measured accordingly and the paying public (collectors and museum goers) will have the last word, not what some Chicano gatekeepers decide. (BTW, I have not yet delved into this, but if ASCO had been active in New Mexico instead of LA, I don't think that we would not have the current stream of Chicano art.)

> issue, one Urrutia ignores, was the near unanimous reaction from Mejicanos here that the piece was a ridicule of their cultural identity.

I am not ignoring it. I realize that it is very easy to whip up fervor and frenzy from people unwilling to admit to change or different views. And one very important thing that Romero has not faced is the fact that Hispanos in Nuevo Mexico are not true mexicanos as evidence of their continued insistence to use la jota instead of la equis. This seemingly trivial detail speaks volumes to someone from Mexico, where anyone insisting on this remnant of the colonial past would be swiftly condemned.

> In the battle to educate the dominant culture, a private gallery is small potatoes.

And that is where Romero is wrong. This private gallery is ran and funded by people of Mexican descent (let's not label them all Chicanos). If they do not represent what the Chicano artistic community must be according to the gospel promoted by Romero and friends, then telling the "dominant culture" what is Chicano won't wash. The "cultural gatekeepers" will point to the fact that not even Chicano artists agree with the Chicano gatekeepers and arbiters of "good taste."

> Pedro Romero Sedeño MFA

Ah, another fine Spanish tradition: the use of a title to impart authority to one's words. Personally, this has always bothered me and have always seen it as a ploy to put put on airs. I myself have three of those pieces of paper. Yet, I don't believe that they validate my words. What validates them are the ideas expressed by them do, not what some professors thought of me years ago.