The Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) is proud to present Serigrafía, an exhibition that surveys the powerful tradition of information design in California’s Latino culture, featuring thirty influential silkscreens from the 1970s to the present. Beginning in the late 1960s, graphic art created at and distributed by artist-led collectives, or centros, contributed significantly to the public discourse. Emerging in concert with the civil rights movement and demanding political and social justice for marginalized groups, these prints confront political, economic, social, and cultural issues on both a personal and a global level.
Curated by seven design experts, the exhibition examines how both aesthetics and portability are key aspects of the prints as communicative and educational objects. Unlike work created for galleries or museums, the poster’s primary function is to clearly give voice to a complex message in very different environments. Carol Wells, one of the exhibition curators, explained in her essay “Have Posters, Will Travel,” from the book Visions of Peace and Justice: San Francisco Bay Area: 1974-2007, “The best posters are powerful and influential. The worst quickly forgotten. Their history is as varied as their messages, traveling from demonstrations to trash bins and occasionally to museum walls.”
Challenging the traditional notion of a “poster,” the selected prints exemplify the impact of effective and moving
communication through the printmaking process. Capturing momentous cultural and political events and experiences, the works in the exhibition explore subjects such as the United States embargo against Cuba and the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and are conceived to provoke, protest, and praise. Esther Hernandez’s Sun Mad combines the familiar Sun Maid girl on the raisin boxes with the calavera (satricially costumed skeletons) to raise awareness about the use of pesticides, fungicides, and other toxic chemicals in raisin production. Contemporary artist Ernesto Yerena’s silkscreen Knowledge is Power, uses the well known aphorism to glavanize young people to arm themselves with their heart and ganas, or desire.
Many graphic artists called on the iconography of their pre-Columbian past, such as in Xavier Villamontes’ Boycott Grapes, which depicts a powerful Aztec warrior crushing handfuls of grapes that drip with the blood of exploited and injured farmworkers. When strikes, marches, and legislation failed to improve conditions in the fields, through posters like this one, the United Farms Worksers Union (UFWA) asked the public to boycott grapes, wine, and lettuce in order to pressure growers.
Other artists in the exhibition include Jesus Barraza, Barbara Carrasco, Leonard Castellanos, Rene Castro, Melanie Cervantes, Enrique Chagoya, Ricardo Favela, Juan R. Fuentes, Rupert Garcia, Xico Gonzalez, Daniel González, Yolanda M. López, Linda Lucero, Estria Miyashiro, Malaquias Montoya, Gilda Posada, Celina Rodriguez, Favianna Rodriguez, Jos Sances, Mark Vallen, and Xavier Viramontes.
This exhibition was organized by Exhibit Envoy and is funded by the James Irvine Foundation. It is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Carrie Adrian, and Susan Davis.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Free for PMCA members