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

National Tour

Smithsonian American Art Museum
in Washington, DC
Amon Carter Museum of American Art
in Fort Worth, Texas
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth
in Hanover, New Hampshire
Frist Art Museum
in Nashville, Tennessee

November 20 - November 22, 2020 and May 14, 2021 - August 8, 2021

Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and G Streets, NW)

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. 

Take the Tour

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.

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. 

¡Printing the Revolution! Exhibition Preview

Conversation Series

This five-part virtual series examines Chicanx graphics and how artists have used printmaking as a vehicle to debate larger social causes and build community.

Streaming Event: Justice for Our Lives

This online edition of Justice for Our Lives by Oree Originol was created to mark the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.

Watch Now

On the Blog

Go in-depth into the themes of ¡Printing the Revolution! and learn more about artworks featured in the exhibition on our blog

Exhibition Catalogue

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

The award-winning exhibition catalogue, co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in association with Princeton University Press, is available for purchase in the online bookstore. ($60, hardcover and $49.99, flexicover).

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

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

Visual Connections

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


¡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.

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