¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now

Media - 2012.53.1 - SAAM-2012.53.1_1 - 82036

Leonard Castellanos, RIFA, from Méchicano 1977 Calendario, 1976, screenprint on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum

In the 1960s, activist Chicano artists forged a remarkable history of printmaking that remains vital today. Many artists came of age during the civil rights, labor, anti-war, feminist and LGBTQ+ movements and channeled the period’s social activism into assertive aesthetic statements that announced a new political and cultural consciousness among people of Mexican descent in the United States. ¡Printing the Revolution! explores the rise of Chicano graphics within these early social movements and the ways in which Chicanx artists since then have advanced innovative printmaking practices attuned to social justice.

More than reflecting the need for social change, the works in this exhibition project and revise notions of Chicanx identity, spur political activism and school viewers in new understandings of U.S. and international history. By employing diverse visual and artistic modes from satire, to portraiture, appropriation, conceptualism, and politicized pop, the artists in this exhibition build an enduring and inventive graphic tradition that has yet to be fully integrated into the history of U.S. printmaking.

Description

This exhibition is the first to unite historic civil rights era prints alongside works by contemporary printmakers, including several that embrace expanded graphics that exist beyond the paper substrate. While the dominant mode of printmaking among Chicanx artists remains screen-printing, this exhibition features works in a wide range of techniques and presentation strategies, from installation art, to public interventions, augmented reality and shareable graphics that circulate in the digital realm. The exhibition also is the first to consider how Chicanx mentors, print centers and networks nurtured other artists, including several who drew inspiration from the example of Chicanx printmaking.

Artists and collectives featured in the exhibition include Rupert García, Malaquias Montoya, Ester Hernandez, the Royal Chicano Air Force, Elizabeth SiscoLouis HockDavid Avalos, Sandra C. Fernández, Juan de Dios Mora, the Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA, Enrique Chagoya, René Castro, Juan Fuentes, and Linda Lucero, among others.

¡Printing the Revolution! features 119 works drawn from SAAM’s leading collection of Latinx art. The museum’s Chicanx graphics holdings rose significantly with an important gift in 1995 from the renowned scholar Tomás Ybarra-Frausto. Since then, other major donations and an ambitious acquisition program has built one of the largest museum collections of Chicanx graphics on the East Coast.

This exhibition is organized by E. Carmen Ramos, acting chief curator and curator of Latinx art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with Claudia Zapata, curatorial assistant for Latinx art. A major catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays by Ramos and Zapata, as well as contributions by Tatiana Reinoza, assistant professor of art history at the University of Notre Dame; and Terezita Romo, an art historian, curator, and writer.

Note¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now was originally scheduled to open to the public in September 2020. The Smithsonian closed all its museums on March 14, 2020 as a public health precaution due to the global pandemic, which delayed the exhibition opening to November 20. ¡Printing the Revolution! was open for three days before the Smithsonian closed again on November 23. It re-opened for a final run from May 14 through August 8, 2021. 

 

Visiting Information

November 20 — November 22, 2020 and May 14, 2021 — August 82021
Open daily, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
Free Admission

Tour Schedule

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Washington, DC
November 20, 2020 August 8, 2021
Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Fort Worth, TX
February 20, 2022 May 8, 2022
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth
Hanover, NH
February 4, 2023 June 11, 2023
Frist Art Museum
Nashville, TN
June 28, 2024 September 29, 2024

Publications

An artwork of a man with a mustache
¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now
Beginning in the 1960s, activist Chicano artists forged a remarkable history of printmaking that remains vital today. Many artists came of age during the civil rights, labor, anti-war, feminist and LGBTQ+ movements, and channeled the period’s social activism into assertive aesthetic statements that announced a new political and cultural consciousness among people of Mexican descent in the United States. The exhibition ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now presents, for the first time, historical civil rights-era prints by Chicano artists alongside works by graphic artists working from the 1980s to today.

Videos

Credit

¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from The Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, Michael Abrams and Sandra Stewart, The Honorable Aida Alvarez, Joanne and Richard Brodie Exhibitions Endowment, James F. Dicke Family Endowment, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Ford Foundation, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, HP, William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund, Robert and Arlene Kogod Family Foundation, Lannan Foundation, and Henry R. Muñoz, III and Kyle Ferari-Muñoz.

The HP logo in blue

SAAM Stories

Cover of a 1976 calendar featuring a graphic scene of Mexican people with food.
Exploring tradition, place, and social justice through food
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Screenprint portrait of Cesar Chavez
Exploring the life of a celebrated labor rights activist through his portrait
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Cover of a 1976 calendar featuring a graphic scene of Mexican people with food.
Exploring tradition, place, and social justice through food
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
A close up crop of a screenprint of Frida Kahlo's face.
Museum educators share Chicanx posters with teachers around the world
A photograph of Anne Showalter in front of Superhighway.
Anne Showalter
Digital Interpretation Specialist
A zoom screen split with four participants
We look at themes from ¡Printing the Revolution! as discussed in conversations between the artists, curators, and scholars
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Close up of a man in a sombrero
Go in-depth with ¡Printing the Revolution's! iconic image
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
A print of a woman's face with facial tattoos, against a printed background
Artist Melanie Cervantes explores indigeneity, identity, and activism in her printmaking practice
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Etching of a healing scene
Artist Carmen Lomas Garza’s scenes from everyday life honor borderland culture and create community
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Two black and white illustrated portraits side-by-side
Artists in ¡Printing the Revolution! explore pressing issues of the LGBTQ+ community
A photograph of Claudia Zapata
Claudia Zapata
Curatorial Assistant of Latinx Art
A person with short hair stands in front of a case of prints.
Explore Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA, a New York art collective inspired by Chicano print centers
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
A screenprint portrait of a man from the nineteenth century
Chicanx artists elevate national and global historic figures to inspire activism
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
A collage of illustrated portraits on brightly colored backgrounds
Artists honor victims of social injustice and create a space for communal grieving
A photograph of Carmen Ramos by Ross Whitaker
E. Carmen Ramos
Former Curator of Latinx Art
Portrait in blue ink on a hankerchief
Shizu Saldamando explores identity and representation through portraiture
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
A print of 2 women, one holding a baby, surrounded by text and symbols
Yreina D. Cervántez uses text, imagery, and symbolism to pay tribute to bold female leaders of different eras
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Close up detail of figure in red standing against a yellow background with text
Luis González’s Hasta La Victoria Siempre combines bold graphics and text in a powerful political poster designed to support the Chicano movement
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Pile of hand-sewn felt bees
Sonia Romero pushes the boundaries of graphic arts beyond paper and seeks to bring art out of the museum and into the community
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Close up of a man in a sombrero
How Chicanx protest artists in the 1970s used discarded materials in their work
A photograph of Claudia Zapata
Claudia Zapata
Curatorial Assistant of Latinx Art
Close up of a woman's face
Barbara Carrasco's vivid portrait of Dolores Huerta honors the iconic labor activist
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
The text "Emma We Call BS"
Lalo Alcaraz’s digital poster of Emma González echoes a long tradition of activist posters dating back to political rebellions of the 1960s
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
An artwork of two people standing next to each other.
Artist and activist Julio Salgado challenges a traditional rite of passage
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
Two artworks of a skeleton resembling the raison box woman.
A closer look at two iconic artworks featured in “¡Printing the Revolution!”
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
A photograph of a man in a hat with a mustache
The groundbreaking exhibition explores how Chicanx artists have linked innovative printmaking practices with social justice
Headshot of woman with black hair
Rebekah Mejorado
Public Relations Specialist
An installation photograph of an artwork of faces in a rainbow tone
Exploring how Chicanx artists continue to use graphic arts as a response to issues of the time
A photograph of Carmen Ramos by Ross Whitaker
E. Carmen Ramos
Former Curator of Latinx Art
A photograph of Claudia Zapata
Claudia Zapata
Curatorial Assistant of Latinx Art
An artwork of a figure holding grapes.
Exploring the origins of the exhibition that combines innovative printmaking practices with social justice
A photograph of Carmen Ramos by Ross Whitaker
E. Carmen Ramos
Former Curator of Latinx Art
A photograph of Claudia Zapata
Claudia Zapata
Curatorial Assistant of Latinx Art

3D Tour

Gallery wall of Chicano prints displayed in SAAM's exhibition
Experience “¡Printing the Revolution!” in a 3D Virtual Tour

Explore ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics,1965 to Now from anywhere in this virtual experience. Immerse yourself in bold and innovative graphic art and learn about the history and traditions of the Chicano movement while virtually moving through SAAM's galleries. 

Changemakers Portraits

Media - 2020.50.1 - SAAM-2020.50.1_1 - 139038
Changemakers Portraits

These portraits reveal how Chicanx artists and their collaborators highlight individuals past and present whose actions have shaped the course of history.

Shareable Graphics

Media - 2020.41 - SAAM-2020.41_1-000001 - 139490
Shareable Graphics

These digital images are part of Chicanx artists shareable graphics practice where artworks are freely shared online.

Visual Connections

Two artworks next to each other with a couple in each.
Visual Connections

Look at works from ¡Printing the Revolution! alongside related images.

Online Gallery

Artists

Carlos Almonte
born Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 1960
Leonard Castellanos
born Los Angeles, CA 1943
René Castro
born Viña del Mar, Chile 1943
Yreina D. Cervántez
born Garden City, KS 1952
Sam Coronado
born Ennis, TX 1946-died Fort Wayne, IN 2013
Carlos A. Cortéz
born Milwaukee, WI 1923-died Chicago, IL 2005

Graphic artist, born in 1923 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cortéz currently lives in Chicago, where he has been active with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) since the end of World War II.

Rodolfo O. Cuellar
born Auburn, CA 1950
Richard Duardo
born Los Angeles, CA 1952-died Los Angeles, CA 2014
Ricardo Favela
born Kingsburg, CA 1944-died Visalia, CA 2007
Juan Fuentes
born Artesia, NM 1950
Rupert García
born French Camp, CA 1941

Rupert García came from a family active in the creation and instruction of folk arts and traditions. After completing his service in the U.S. Air Force in Indochina, García attended the San Francisco School for the Arts on the G.I. Bill.

Scherezade García
born Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 1966
Jay Lynn Gomez
born San Bernardino, CA 1986
Luis C. González
born Mexico City, Mexico 1953
Ester Hernandez
born Dinuba, CA 1944
Nancy Hom
born Toisan, China 1949
Media - portrait_image_113566.jpg - 90312
Luis Jiménez
born El Paso, TX 1940-died Hondo, NM 2006

Born in Texas, lives in New Mexico. Sculptor, teacher whose large fiberglass figures capture the color and vigor of Hispanic-American women and men.

Carmen Lomas Garza
born Kingsville, TX 1948

Painter and printmaker. While attending Texas Arts and Industry University (Texas A&I) in Kingsville, Lomas Garza joined the Chicano movement. In addition to earning a B.S.

Gilbert Magu” Luján
born Stockton, CA 1940-died Arcadia, CA 2011
Emanuel Martinez
born Denver, CO 1947

Painter and sculptor, born in 1947 in Denver, Colorado. Martínez attended Metropolitan State College and Juarez Lincoln University in Denver.

Yunior Chiqui Mendoza
born Santiago, Dominican Republic 1964
Malaquias Montoya
born Albuquerque, NM 1938
Amado M. Peña, Jr.
born Laredo, TX 1943
Zeke Peña
born Las Cruces, NM 1983
Sonia Romero
born Los Angeles, CA 1980
Julio Salgado
born Ensenada, Mexico 1983
Xavier Viramontes
born Richmond, CA 1943

Printmaker, born in 1943 in Richmond, California. Viramontes received a B.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute and an M.A. from San Francisco State University.