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Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art

Nuestra América: la presencia latina en el arte estadounidense



Night Magic (Blue Jester)

Carlos Almaraz, 1988

oil on canvas
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Gloria Werner, 2011.12
© 1988, Carlos Almaraz Estate

óleo sobre tela
Smithsonian American Art Museum, donación de Gloria Werner, 2011.12
© 1988, Carlos Almaraz Estate


Almaraz was a pioneering Chicano artist who produced art for the United Farm Workers Union and cofounded Los Four, one of the earliest Chicano collectives. A later shift to expressionistic painting and graphics brought him national recognition. By the 1980s, his non-narrative images of Los Angeles addressed both his cultural affiliations and sense of isolation while living with AIDS. Night Magic (Blue Jester), inspired by velvet paintings sold on the U.S.–Mexico border, represents urban Los Angeles exploding with sensuous colors and populated by shadows suggestive of Almaraz’s lonely alter egos.
Almaraz, artista chicano pionero, produjo arte para la Unión de Campesinos y co-fundó a Los Four, uno de los primeros colectivos artísticos chicanos. Luego de adoptar un estilo expresionista en su obra pictórica y gráfica obtuvo reconocimiento a nivel nacional. Hacia los ochenta, sus imágenes no narrativas de Los Ángeles sugirieron tanto sus raíces culturales como el aislamiento que sentía al padecer del SIDA. Su obra Night Magic (Blue Jester), inspirada por pinturas sobre terciopelo vendidas en la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos, representa a la ciudad de Los Ángeles con una explosión de colores sensuales y poblado de sombras sugerentes de los alter egos solitarios de Almaraz.






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