Guided Tour: “¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now”

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  • Curator E. Carmen Ramos and Curatorial Assistant Claudia Zapata take you on a guided video tour of highlights in the ¡Printing the Revolution!
     
    In the 1960s, activist Chicano artists forged a remarkable history of printmaking that remains vital today. 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. 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.

    - (E. Carmen Ramos) Hi, my name is E. Carmen Ramos and I’m acting head curator and Curator of Latinx art at Smithsonian American Art Museum or SAAM as we are known. I’m excited to introduce you to “¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now,” a major exhibition that looks at how Chicanx artists working since 1965 spearheaded an on-going and historically significant graphic movement attuned to social justice. I organized this exhibition with Claudia Zapata, who will join us shortly. This exhibition is entirely drawn from SAAM’s permanent collection and only represents about 1/5 of our holdings in this area. Claudia and I will toggle back and forth as we tour you through the exhibition. Claudia, do you want to introduce yourself?
    - (Claudia Zapata) My name is Claudia Zapata, and I am the curatorial assistant for Latinx art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I assisted Carmen Ramos with the research for this exhibition and provided the essay "Chicanx Art in the Digital Age” for the exhibition’s catalogue.
    - (E. Carmen Ramos) I started conceiving this exhibition in 2017 because I wanted to call attention to the impressive and five decades long history of Chicanx graphics, which until now, has largely remained outside of the history of graphic arts in the United States. The exhibition starts in the 1960s. During this period, Mexican American young people in particular adopted the name “Chicano” as a sign of a new identity. Chicano had been a derogatory term that many young people, in an act of cultural and political assertation, turned on its head and began to use as badge of honor. In the 1960s, Chicanos were inspired by the labor activism of the United Farm Workers and fought for equal rights and challenged their invisibility across Mexican society. Printmakers active during these formative years of the Chicano civil rights movement played a pivotal role in projecting this revolutionary new way of being Mexican American.
    Activists embraced the term revolution or revolutionary because it meant adopting a new attitude, projecting a new consciousness, or a new way of seeing in the world on the part of citizens, residents, and entire communities that demanded social and political and equality.
    The exhibition explores how Chicano artists, and their cross-cultural collaborators initiated an influential and innovative graphic arts movement attuned to social justice and cultural expression that remains vital today.
    We are in the entrance to the exhibition, where the first section titled Urgent Images begins. We have organized the entire exhibition thematically and each section includes artists working at different historical moments from the 1960s to today, allowing us to see how certain concerns, artistic strategies recur or change over time. This section explores how artists responded to the urgent social causes of their time be they labor rights, environmental justice, immigration reform, or as the case of Justice for Our Lives, police brutality.
    The installation was created by Oree Originol and it was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Originol creates black-and-white digital portraits of men, women, and children who were killed during altercations with law enforcement. The artist often used photographs shared with him by the victim’s families. The portraits are straightforward, yet each gives a sense of style and personality of these tragically lost lives. The artist makes each portrait available for download on his website for community members to use. He is known for his dynamic, large-scale installations similar to the one he created here, which he often places on urban walls. These displays allow people to remember and mourn these tragically lost lives.
    It’s important to point out that the struggle against police brutality is not solely a contemporary issue, it was part of the civil rights movement from the very start. For example, Amado Peña’s “Aquellos que han muerto,” or “For those who have died,” from 1975, is a memorial print created for Santos Rodriguez, a twelve-year-old Dallas, Texas child who was killed by a police officer in 1973. The tragic event galvanized the Mexican American community in Dallas, Texas, and garnered national attention. The image, which is both cartoonish and graphic, portrays a smiling Santos with a bloody gunshot wound to his forehead. Beneath his image, Peña includes the names of other victims of violence whose names appear beneath Rodriguez’s bloodied face.
    Sun Mad, created in 1982 by Ester Hernandez, is one of the most iconic prints in the history of Chicanx graphics. She created the print in response to learning that her family, who were farmworkers in California’s San Joaquin Valley, had been exposed to polluted water and pesticides. In response, Hernandez created an image that unmasks a well-known image of “wholesome” agribusiness, the smiling maiden holding a bounty of grapes that has been the logo for the Sun Maid raisin company for decades and is still in use today. Her transformation turns on her use of a skeletal figure, suggesting the harm caused by pollution and pesticides, which she lists on the lower register of the print.
    Later in 2008, Hernandez reimagined her classic “Sun Mad” to address another concern, workplace raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In addition to changing the title from “Sun Mad” to “Sun Raid,” she outfits the calavera, or skeleton, with an ICE wrist monitor and a huipil, a traditional indigenous garment. This reference suggests how indigenous people from Mexico and Central America represent a large segment of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Her text on the bottom part of the print, which reads by-product of NAFTA, places undocumented migration within the context of the economic repercussions of global trade through agreements between nations.
    Starting in the mid-1960s, many Chicano artists actively supported the United Farm Workers, also known as UFW, a union founded by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta to combat the horrendous working conditions of California farmworkers. Several of the prints on this wall specifically address the farmworkers movement. Some artists like Andrew Zermeño worked directly with the UFW, and others created works independently to spread the word of the Union’s activities and their cause.
    “Huelga!,”or Strike was the first poster Zermeño created for the United Farm Workers. It features a recuring figure in Zermeño’s posters and political cartoons, Don Sotaco, a representative striker whose title “Don”, or sir conveys respect. Dressed in tattered pants and with a hole in his shoe, Don Sotaco rushes forward holding an UFW flag, modeling the urgency and determination of the farmworkers protest and challenge to the status quo.
    Xavier Viramontes created “Boycott Grapes, Support the United Farm Workers Union” in 1973, the year César Chávez initiated a new grape boycott in response to the violent intervention of a rival union, the Teamsters, in disputes between the UFW and California growers. Viramontes was aware of the Teamsters’ violent tactics, which likely informed his imagery of an Aztec warrior squeezing grapes that spew blood instead of juice. The artist suggested that the UFW sell the posters to support the boycott, which they later did through the UFW newspaper, “El Malcriado.”
    Artists during the 1960s, addressed many urgent concerns, including the demands for educational equality. Rupert García became a pivotal figure in the Third World Liberation Front, a coalition of Chicano, African American, Asian American, and Native students who held a strike in 1968 to demand ethnic studies programs at San Francisco State College. García created this poster, titled Right On, during that protest. To capture the solidarity among the students, he combined the likeness of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a Cuban revolutionary icon who became a global symbol of political resistance, with the popular Black Power slogan, “Right On!” García sold this poster to raise funds for the student bail fund.
    Jay Lynn Gomez created “All About Family,” in 2014, a work that opens up the question of labor today, which increasingly involves a service economy, where workers provide a service like childcare. The work is part of a series in which Gomez reprints, at an enlarged scale, images from home décor magazines. Right outside a large estate, the artist has painted a scene of a nanny pushing a stroller holding two children. Gomez’s insertions render visible the domestic laborers whose work makes possible such scenes of domestic perfection and tranquility. Her interventions pointedly relate to the relationship between the text and the presence of her inserted domestic workers. Here the claim All about my Family seems impossible without the labor of the nanny.
    Starting in the 1970s, debates over U.S. immigration policy increased. Yolanda Lopez’s 1981 print “Who's the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?,” considers Latinx undocumented migration against the backdrop of a long history of European colonization of the Americas and the appropriation of Indigenous lands. She portrays her idea of an Aztec warrior in a stance that resembles that of Uncle Sam as seen in the “I Want You” army recruitment posters. The figure directs his question at pilgrims and questions who is undocumented since Mayflower settlers from Europe arrived in the Americas without “papers.”
    - (Claudia Zapata) This next section, “A New Chicano World,” reflects how Chicano artists projected a new political and cultural consciousness. Their reclamation of the term Chicano, which was previously a pejorative for Mexican Americans, signified a pivotal societal change by rejecting cultural assimilation. Chicano artists challenged patriarchal, heteronormative, and colonial perspectives to create artworks showcasing the diversity of their daily life and their communities. This approach inspired other artists to use printmaking to explore their bicultural currents in U.S. American life.
    Originally, Malaquias Montoya created Yo Soy Chicano, I am Chicano, to promote a documentary of the same name. His two dynamic figures break their chains as they clench their fists in retaliation, representing the shifting political consciousness of the Chicano movement and the conceptual break with the past. This image functions as both personal affirmation and a collective call to action.
    This new consciousness opened up unending possibilities for a new future. Gilbert “Magu” Luján, a founding member of the Chicano collective Los Four, features a fantastical landscape on Turtle Island, a Native name for North America. He maps out a world free of colonization with indigenous figures riding Chicano lowriders and speaking through ancient Mesoamerican speech scrolls. The anthropomorphic dog seen at the lower right is a common figure in Magu’s art that he employed, in his words, as “a metaphor for indigenous Mexican-Indian heritage.”
    Chicano artists also delved into daily life and their familiar artistic formats. There is a legacy of calendar art stemming from Mexico that continues today. Chicano print centers and artists would use the calendar months as part of a print portfolio, with several artists contributing to a set. Max E. Garcia and Luis C. González use the calendar format to critique U.S. President Gerald Ford and comment on food insecurity, featuring an image of food stamps overlaid with Christ’s Last Supper.
    Chicana prints provide nostalgic snapshots from their past, featuring the unique cultural practices that make up Chicanx life. Carmen Lomas Garza depicts her familial memories of growing up in South Texas. This scene captures a spiritual cleansing ritual, a “limpia,” and other indigenous practices such as the burning of copal, or tree resin, incense. In the background, you can see other spiritual references, such as the Virgin of Guadalupe, showcasing the diversity of her family’s faith.
    Chicano print centers and artists played an influential role in other bicultural communities. After working at the Chicano print shop, the Serie Project in Austin, Texas, Dominican American artist Pepe Coronado established the Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA, DYPG. This print collective explores Dominican diasporic history and culture in their graphics. In their first portfolio, “Manifestaciones,” they cover topics ranging from Dominican American culture, U.S. foreign policy, and urban life.
    The term Aztlan came into resurgence during the 1960s Chicano Movement, becoming a central concept throughout the cause’s literature. Movement writers used the ancient belief of Aztlan, which historically references the mythical homeland of the Aztecs, to situate the U.S. Southwest and California as part of a connecting legacy to ancient civilization. Chicano master printer Richard Duardo prominently features this concept in an urban graffiti style to reference his continued support of this civil rights movement.
    In this corner, we feature two artists from the Bay area collective, Dignidad Rebelde: Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza. In her 2019 print “Between the Leopard and the Jaguar,” Melanie Cervantes affirms the resilience of indigenous communities since the Conquest by including ancient, colonial, and contemporary references. She features a contemporary “danzante,” a dancer associated with indigenous ceremonies, who performed at an Occupy San Francisco event in 2011 against income inequality in the United States. The background patterns recall Aztec motifs from the ancient to colonial eras, including a gold figure representing an “ocelotl cuauhxicalli,” a sacred jaguar vessel used for sacrificial offerings. Beneath this, a symmetrical grid pattern references “patolli,” an ancient Aztec game of chance outlawed by the Spanish.
    Chicano artists stand in solidarity with indigenous rights and use their artwork as a form of advocacy. Jesus Barraza and NancyPili Hernandez created the print “Indian Land” for a 2004 fundraiser for the Peace and Dignity Journey, an indigenous spiritual run across the continent. They envision an alternative rendering of the Western Hemisphere erasing national borders and emphasizing the foundational common denominator of the region: indigeneity.
    Chicana feminist artists played a significant role in progressing the Chicano movement forward and demanding the representation and recognition of women. Yreina D. Cervántez pays a tribute to bold woman leaders of different eras: the seventeenth-century Mexican poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, twentieth-century Mexican author Rosario Castellanos, and the Zapatista Comandanta Ramona. The print’s title, “Mujer de mucha enagua,” is a Mexican Zapatista phrase for a powerful woman activist, meaning a “woman with a lot of petticoat.” She dedicates her print to Xicana women, using the indigenous feminist spelling of “Xicana” with an “X” in the title, citing the indigenous language, Nahuatl.
    Frida Kahlo’s well-known painting “Las Dos Fridas” inspired Mexican-born artist Julio Salgado. He employs a similar duality in his is 2014 print, “Quiero Mis Queerce,” as a reflection on his challenges as a gay teen who wanted a “quinceañera,” a traditional coming-out ceremony reserved for young women on their fifteenth-birthday. When the artist turned thirty, he created this image, he said, to “honor the little boy who didn’t get a quinceañera.”
    Queer Chicanx themes inform Chicanismo, challenging heteronormative notions of gender, sexuality, and love. Ester Hernandez uses her then partner as a model in the 1988 print “La Ofrenda,” The Offering. She features her partner with a traditional Virgin of Guadalupe tattoo on her back, with the artist’s hand offering a rose. This intimate image graced the cover of Carla Trujillo’s book “Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About,” becoming more widely associated with the lesbian community.
    - (E. Carmen Ramos) The largest section of the exhibition is “Reimagining National and Global Histories.”
    The struggle to create a just world is also about history, whose experience do we value, whose history is considered important and deemed worthy of recording in history books and teaching in classrooms.
    This is one of two walls where we show how extensively Chicanx artists and their collaborators tackled history through the lens of portraiture. Many artists recognize that the lives and deeds of those who have fought for political, civil, and human rights aren’t included in schoolbooks or curricula. To challenge these omissions, artists choose to highlight individuals past and present whose actions have shaped the course of history.
    This first wall shows portraits of activists, artists and scholars, including revolutionary leaders like José Marti, who fought against Spanish colonialism in the Americas in the nineteenth century, activists who fought for civil and human rights of Black people worldwide like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, and the South African anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko.
    This second wall, portrays influential artists like the Mexican artists José Guadalupe Posada and Frida Kahlo, and Tejana singer Selena, who was tragically killed in 1995, and labor activists and leaders including Joe Hill, Dolores Huerta and Emma Tenayuca.
    Other works in this section show artists reflecting on pivotal moments in U.S. and global histories. Chicano artists and their collaborators saw themselves as part of a global movement that challenged injustice at home and abroad. Starting with the Cuban Revolution and the Vietnam War, artists portrayed world events and expressed solidarity with other aggrieved groups. They adopted the bold, graphic style of postrevolutionary Cuban posters and initiated new formats like the illustrated calendar that brought prints into the home and created posters for activist groups who sought to change the course of living history.
    In this section, there are several prints, both recent and historical, that address migration and borders as an entry point into the history of the Americas.
    Poli Marichal is a Puerto Rican artist who was closely allied with Self Help Graphics, one of the first Chicano print centers in the United States. Marichal uses a dramatic linear style and linocut technique that connects her work to a long history of political graphics in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Her print “Santuario,” portrays men, women, and children protectively held within two strong arms and visualizes sanctuary cities as places where undocumented immigrants are afforded basic protections.
    Luis Jiménez, was major artist and important Chicano printmaker who was born in El Paso, Texas. He created many works that explore the culture of the U.S. Mexico borderlands. “Howl,” depicts a coyote, an animal deeply embedded in the ancient and contemporary culture of the Southwest. The coyote is a trickster figure for several American Indian tribes and was a symbol of wisdom and military might in Pre-Columbian Mexico. The term “coyote” is also a colloquial expression for a smuggler that moves people across borders. The howling animal suggests a defiant Chicano claim to the geography of the Southwest.
    Rupert García’s bold print issues a clear call to action: Stop deportation! Chicano artists since the 1960s have used barbed wire imagery—long associated with painful historical events like the Holocaust, the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the ill-treatment of Mexican guest workers during the Bracero Program from 1942 to 1964—to question the negative perception of undocumented immigrants. Originally created in the 1973, García and the Oakland-based collective Dignidad Rebelde reissued this iconic print in 2011 amid criticism of the Obama administration for its high record of deportations.
    Malaquias Montoya’s faceless and bleeding brown figure is caught within the spikes of barbed wire and assumes the posture of the crucified Christ, while also evoking the central victim in Francisco de Goya’s “Third of May 1808 in Madrid.” These references humanize the plight of undocumented immigrants in the 1980s, many of whom were fleeing civil wars in Central America that had intensified with U.S. intervention. Montoya created this print during his years of activism leading up to the passage of the U.S. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which secured various forms of temporary legal status for undocumented people.
    Starting roughly in the 1980s, Chicano artists and their peers turned increasingly to the history of U.S. interventions in Central America. Herbert Sigüenza and an unidentified artist, created “It’s Simple Steve,” a print that relies on cartoon characters by Milton Caniff to evoke a pop art style and an unexpected use of an expletive to critique U.S. intervention in El Salvador. The print was extremely popular in San Francisco, home to many Salvadoran families—including the artist’s own—that fled their war-torn country and settled in the United States.
    Juan Fuentes created several works to support the anti-Apartheid movement. His “Many Mandelas,” from 1986, portrays a youthful Nelson Mandela, the South African political leader who was imprisoned for twenty-seven years because of his outspoken activism and later became the first black president of South Africa. Fuentes repeats Mandela’s likeness five times over a large red ribbon, which was then a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement.
    Nancy Hom, the Asian American artist who was active in Chicano and Latino networks in San Francisco, created the “No More Hiroshima/Nagasakis” to call attention to the medical needs of “hibakushas,” the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in 1945 who suffered illnesses stemming from their exposure to radiation. Her graphic style and bold color reveal the influence of Cuban posters, which were admired and emulated by many activist artists since the 1970s.
    Many artists used the calendar format to not only depict their perspectives on American history, but to share their historical reframings with a general public, who could purchase these works which could be displayed in the home or work place.
    Jos Sances, an Italian American artist from Massachusetts, who settled in the San Francisco region and became active with Chicano and Latino print centers like La Raza Graphics and Mission Grafica, which he co-founded with the Chilean artist René Castro, created this print to critique U.S. intervention in Latin America. In the calendar print for March/April 1983, Sances visualized a leftist adage that turned the United States into a shark that swallows a powerful scorpion in the shape of Mexico and Central America.
    Enrique Chagoya uses the format of the Mesoamerican codex as a vehicle to explore contemporary history in an irreverent way. He made this print in the years following 9/11, when Americans questioned President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. He depicts Bush in the middle of the long print. Chagoya’s codex, which reads from right to left and is printed on amate paper made from the bark of a Ficus tree, mixes incongruous references from the Lone Ranger and Tonto to plumed serpents, dinosaurs, and flying saucers. His narrative is not clear cut and requires a viewers actively participate, yet his title “The Ghost of Liberty” encourages viewers to critically look at this history.
    Eric J. García, also uses the codex format to tell the history of the Mexican American War from 1846 to 1848. He personifies the United States as an aggressive, land hungry Uncle Sam and Mexico as a welcoming and gullible short-stature man unaware of Uncle Sam’s ambitions. García’s final scene includes a portrait of the artist standing alongside a screaming baby, suggesting how current Chicanx generations critically recall the past.
    “George Jackson Lives” by Malaquias Montoya tells the story of the prison reform movement through the life and experiences of George Jackson, a prisoner in San Quentin State Prison in the 1960s. Jackson became hugely influential through his writings that exposed the racist and inhumane treatment of inmates, and advanced anticolonial ideas. He became a martyr after he was killed in an alleged escape attempt. Six men, who came to be known as the San Quentin Six, were tried for the death and assault of several guards and inmates during the unrest. Montoya’s print boldly takes a form of a movie poster that portrays a degrading scene of the chained prisoners during the trial of the San Quentin Six.
    Carlos Francisco Jackson based this print on a historic photograph of the day in 1968 when César Chávez broke his twenty-five-day hunger strike. Chávez had started the hunger strike to rededicate the farm worker movement to the ideals of non-violent protest. The large scale of the print and its vivid colors proclaims the importance of this event. Viewers can readily see the national figures and labor leaders who were there, from Helen Chávez, César’s wife, Filipino American labor organizer Larry Itliong, and U.S. Senator and then presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.
    The two prints on this wall explore the history of the U.S. Bicentennial, a national celebration held in 1976 that commemorated the independence of American colonies in North America from British rule. Both prints, created by artists that were part of the Chicano collective the Royal Chicano Air Force or RCAF, present the Bicentennial at odds with the historical experiences of many U.S. citizens, including activists and civil rights leaders who were surveilled during the 1960s and 70s by the FBI.
    Rudy Cuellar’s print on the left “Humor in Xhicano Arte 200 Years of Oppression 1776–1976,” presents an image of a young man, whose mouth is covered with a chained padlock that reads “Made in the USA.” Surprisingly, Cuellar’s print also announces an art exhibition, showing how members of the RCAF wryly integrated their critical statements into their work.
    Ricardo Favela’s print on the right considers the Bicentennial from the perspective of Native Americans. Favela calls for the release of Russell Redner and Kenneth Loudhawk, two American Indian Movement activists arrested in 1973 after their participation in the staged protest at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. The artist juxtaposes a series of Lakota war shields with the Native figure whose face is partially obscured by a frayed U.S. flag, He adds the phrase and words “500 years” and “genocide,” to conjure a history of violent clashes between the United States and Indian nations.
    Many artists in the exhibition address our current historical moment. This work, by Sandra C. Fern ndez explores our societal response to Dreamers, young people who have lived in the United States without official authorization since being brought to the country as minors. The artist printed the faces of anonymous Dreamers on the pages of an eighteenth-century English law book documenting cases of high crimes and misdemeanors, an indirect reference to how Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants are criminalized in some sectors of our society. By installing the work in the shape of a Christian, crusader cross, she questions this characterization.
    - (Claudia Zapata) Our last section, “Digital Innovations and Public Interventions,” highlights the expanding definitions of graphics. Through public interventions and digital methods, artists have thrust graphics into innovative conduits of exchange. Using new technologies in digital printing, the internet, social media, and augmented reality, artists address transhistorical issues and continue the political graphics legacy but now with new strategies to infiltrate broader public and private spaces with calls for action and awareness.
    Public interventions catalyze public dialogue. This 1988 sign appeared on San Diego buses as part of a month-long exhibition. The collective, Elizabeth Sisco, Louis Hock, and David Avalos, prominently featured the phrase “Welcome to America's Finest Tourist Plantation” as a play on San Diego’s nickname, “America’s Finest City.” This pointed phrase, along with the anonymous browned hands, is a critique of immigration laws and the deportation of undocumented immigrants critical to the city, and the nation’s labor pool.
    Artists also incorporated new technologies into their public interactions. In the 1980s, the Public Art Fund invited Barbara Carrasco to present a computer-generated work on an 800-square-foot digital billboard in the middle of New York’s Times Square. With this space, Carrasco used this digital board to continue her support of the United Farmworkers Movement and call attention to the harmful effects of chemical pesticides on farm workers and consumers.
    Chicano artists continue to experiment digitally. Rupert García, one of the most renowned graphic artists since the civil rights movement, produced the digitally based prints, “Obama from Douglass.” The print uses García’s trademark triptych format to invite viewers to ponder the relationship between images. This work features Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist, and Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States. Between them is a panel of animated abstract lines, suggesting the tumultuous and momentous history that separates and connects these two Black leaders in U.S. history.
    This display features the newest addition to Chicanx art: the shareable graphic.
    The shareable graphic is a digital image disseminated across the internet and social media platforms. Artists distribute these works to aid in solidarity efforts, political protest, and social advocacy. Some shareable graphics continue their circulation in physical form, with artists providing a higher quality image for people to download and print. At no cost to audiences, shareable graphics function as did early protest posters did to gain momentum for social causes and assert the presence of marginalized groups.
    Augmented reality is another technological avenue broadening the printmaking experience. Working with professionals from Augment El Paso in Texas, Zeke Peña developed the augmented reality screenprint “A Nomad in Love.” Users can download the free Augment El Paso app to trigger several animated sequences. Peña often uses the coyote as a double for himself, given their shared love of running around in the El Paso desert and playful personalities. Peña uses these digital animations to heighten the viewer’s experience of his constructed world. In this final exhibition area, we have several works by Michael Menchaca. He creates environmental installations for his graphics display, and he’s designed this site-specific multimedia backdrop for our galleries. These display environments look to ancient maize, or corn designs and science fiction soundscapes to explore the impact of technology on human behavior.
    There are several artistic influences at play in Menchaca’s work ranging from ancient Mesoamerican pictorial forms, Japanese video games, and European bestiaries resulting in a distinct visual vocabulary. These featured prints reflect Menchaca’s interpretation of themes ranging from Spanish colonialism to Latinx migration and the Mexican drug cartel wars.
    - (E. Carmen Ramos) Thank you for joining us on this tour of the exhibition. We hope that you’ll continue to use this virtual tour to learn more about the exhibition “¡Printing the Revolution!”
    Media Series