Patssi Valdez

born Los Angeles, CA 1951
Los Angeles, California, United States

As an artist growing up in East Los Angeles, Valdez was the only Chicana in the conceptual performance group Asco (Spanish for nausea). Valdez is a multitalented artist in several media, including performance and conceptual art, installations, murals, fashion design, collage, photography, easel painting, and set design. Her painted domestic interiors often function as self-portraits—intimate glimpses into internal thoughts and feelings.

Vibrant, saturated colors electrify this topsy-turvy, magical room, where heavy theatrical curtains frame a wild and energetic scene [The Magic Room, SAAM, 1997.70]. Nothing is stable: carpet patterns swirl like whirlpools, wine glasses topple, chairs tip, rock, and float. Gymnastic rings swing freely side-to-side, as four balls on their own bounce merrily through the room. The green chair on the left climbs the thick curtain while a blue chair dances sensuously with the table—forks hanging on for dear life. Overall, the effect is dizzying, yet, despite the uneasy perspective, a balance exists between fantasy and reality. As Patssi Valdez has remarked, "My goal is to keep the paintings alive, to give them a sense of movement. I want to evoke a feeling that people just left the room."

Jonathan Yorba Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (New York and Washington, D.C.: Watson-Guptill Publications, in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2001)


Media - 2011.12 - SAAM-2011.12_1 - 77591
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art
October 25, 2013March 2, 2014
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-twentieth century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge.