Volume 10, Number 7
Last week amid the pre-Oscars hoopla, I kept noticing postings on Facebook about the Mexican origins of the Oscar statuette, created in 1928. Apparently, the statuette was modeled on a nude study of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, the renowned Mexican actor, screenwriter, and director, who was working in Hollywood at the time. Mexican actress Dolores del Rio, also working in Hollywood, recommended her friend Fernández to the award designer (and her husband from 1930-41), MGM art director Cedric Gibbons. The award was first presented in 1929 and soon thereafter began to be called “Oscar,” a name that was made official in 1939. Why Oscar? Some say the award was named after Betty Davis’s husband, or Margaret Herrick’s cousin, or, because Louis B. Mayer’s executive secretary was Norwegian American, King Oscar II. Indeed, there are several explanations, but they all share one feature: the nude statuette reminded white women in Hollywood of a male relation or countryman. In this way, through an earlier era’s social network, El Indio became The European.
I find this history fascinating not for the way it ends, but for all its wonderful contradictions from the start. The mestizo Fernández, nicknamed El Indio for his indigenous features and whose directorial work would exemplify mexicanidad (Mexicanness), not only started his career in Hollywood — his naked body became the basis for the industry’s icon and its most coveted recognition. Those in Hollywood could not help but look for a way to identify with this new award, to take it into the family, so to speak, and call it by a familiar name: Oscar. Such desire crosses boundaries and tries to deny the fact of them, too. Last Sunday, Best Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer provided an alternative expression of desire when she accepted her Oscar: “Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room. I share this with everybody.”
Chon A. Noriega
Director and Professor
Farewell to L.A. Xicano with “a toast and a slice”
The final two L.A. Xicano exhibitions, both at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, drew to a close on February 26. The CSRC held a reception to celebrate the achievements of the L.A. Xicano project and to bid all the exhibitions and the extensive public programming a fond farewell. Several artists featured in the exhibitions, including David Botello, Wayne Healy, Judithe Hernandez, Arturo Romo-Santillano, Oscar Castillo, Frank Romero, and Joe and Johnny Gonzalez, came to toast L.A. Xicano and all who were involved with making it an overwhelming success. Pizza was served, and co-curators Chon A. Noriega and Pilar Tompkins Rivas led a final walkthrough of Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement
and Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo
. We will miss these exhibitions and seeing all the wonderful people who attended and participated! Reminder: Sandra de la Loza’s Mural Remix
lightboxes will remain on view in the CSRC Library through March 23.
Study released on Oscars and diversity
The CSRC made headlines in late February by publishing a new study showing that since 2002—hailed as a “breakthrough year” for actors of color at the Academy Awards—Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning actors have almost always been white. The latest in the CSRC’s Latino Policy & Issues Brief series, Not Quite a Breakthrough: The Oscars and Actors of Color, 2002-2012
, presents the findings of research conducted by Russell K. Robinson, professor at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the UC Berkeley School of Law, researcher Su Li, and graduate students Angela Makabali and Kaitlyn Murphy. The study gained attention from the L.A. Times
and LA Weekly
, as well as international publications (see CSRC in the Press, below). The brief is available in PDF
format on the CSRC website.
Secret menu draws inspiration from L.A. Xicano
Although the L.A. Xicano exhibitions have closed, you can still get a “taste” of them at L.A. restaurants Playa (7360 Beverly Blvd.) and Rivera (1050 South Flower St.). Through March 31 chef John Rivera Sedlar, a local innovator of modern Latin cuisine, is offering a “Pacific Standard Time Secret Menu” to all patrons who show proof of admission to a PST exhibition or ask for the “Pacific Standard Time Secret Menu.” Proof of admission can include a ticket stub, exhibition flyer, or brochure. Oscar Castillo’s color photograph ’47 Chevy in Wilmington, California
(1972), displayed in Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo
, inspired the Secret Menu signature cocktail, composed of mezcal, St. Vincent’s orgeat syrup, passion fruit and lemon juices, and lavender foam. Carlos Almaraz’s painting Beach Trash Burning
(1982), seen in Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement
, is rendered as three sorbet “splashes”—roasted pineapple mezcal, poblano chili lime, and hibiscus pomegranate—served at meal’s end. Culinary interpretations of artworks by Ron Cooper, Larry Bell, Beatrice Wood, and Ed Ruscha are also on the Secret Menu. The menu is available at dinner service only.
Large turnout for Undocumented Events #2 and #3
On February 2 the CSRC held two more L.A. Xicano community-based “Undocumented Events,” this time at El Mercado de Los Angeles in East L.A. The events were co-produced by Mobile Mural Lab (MML)
, a mobile art space created by L.A.-based artists to foster dialogue and engage the community around matters of public art, and Joe Gonzalez, co-founder of the historic Goez Art Studios and Gallery. Over eighty people, including artists, CSRC friends, and members of the general public, turned out for a tour of the murals at El Mercado, which Gonzalez has been creating since 1984. The tour was followed by a complimentary dinner, and Gonzalez serenaded the crowd with mariachi songs. Afterward, the CSRC donated L.A. Xicano materials used during these events—bilingual posters about the history and erasure of Chicano murals in L.A. and the L.A. Xicano
exhibition catalog—to the MML’s permanent poster display and educational archive.
La Santa Cecilia and paper fashion pack Fowler
Local performers La Santa Cecilia, who draw inspiration from a hybrid of Latin culture, rock, and world music, played to a full auditorium at UCLA’s Fowler Museum on February 4. Josh Kun, curator of the GRAMMY Museum exhibition Trouble in Paradise: Music and Los Angeles, 1945–75,
interviewed the musical group during the show. After the concert the 300-plus attendees stayed for a reception, during which artist Patssi Valdez led a crunch-and-fold workshop inspired by Asco’s 1970s-era public appearances as self-made fashionistas in paper gowns and hats. The event took place two days after Valdez led a similar workshop at the Fowler for a group of students from the Los Angeles High School of the Arts. Some of these students modeled their fashions during the reception, and patrons were able to view the L.A. Xicano exhibitions Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement
and Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo.
AJU and WCA tour Fowler exhibitions
Curators Chon A. Noriega and Pilar Tompkins Rivas provided numerous tours of Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement
and Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo
during the months of the exhibitions’ run, which began in October 2011 at UCLA’s Fowler Museum. February was no exception. On February 16 Noriega led the Fine Arts Council from the American Jewish University through the shows, and on February 26, the exhibitions’ closing day, he performed a walkthrough for members of the Women’s Caucus for Art, in town for the annual College Art Association conference.
IAC launches with a Winter Forum
On February 27 the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) held a Winter Forum and Reception to honor the 2011–2012 IAC visiting scholars, predoctoral and graduate fellows, and research grant awardees. The event was also a “soft launch” of a re-envisioned IAC led by M. Belinda Tucker, vice provost. Among the presentations was a discussion between Javier Iribarren, CSRC assistant director, and Abigail Rosas, IAC visiting scholar, about Rosas’s dissertation, “On the Move and in the Moment: Community Formation, Identity, and Opportunity in South Central Los Angeles, 1945–2008.” A short video of the event, produced by CSRC archivist Michael Stone, is available on the CSRC’s YouTube channel
. It includes interviews with Tucker, journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan, lawyer Morgan Chu, sociology professor Paul Apodoca, and business executive Linda Griego, who all expressed their support of the promise and importance of the IAC in today’s cultural and political climate. In addition to the CSRC, the IAC encompasses the American Indian Studies Center, the Asian American Studies Center, and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. In its February 17 issue The Chronicle of Higher Education
announced the appointment of Tucker to her new position as IAC vice provost.
Panel invites discussion on education rights
On February 29 the Office of Diversity and Faculty Development and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center sponsored a panel discussion titled “Dreams Deterred: Education Rights and the Movement for Undocumented Migrants.” Tracy Buenavista, professor of Asian American Studies at Cal State Northridge, Ray Hernandez, artist and member of the im.arte collective, and Lai Wa Wu, M.A. student in the Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA, spoke about their efforts to promote educational rights for undocumented students through research, teaching, creative work, and community organizing. Co-sponsors of the event were the CSRC, the Department of Asian American Studies Asian Pacific Coalition, Samahang Pilipino, IDEAS at UCLA, the UCLA Labor Center, and the Undocumented Student Program at the Bruin Resource Center.
Sullivan discusses Nahuatl language project
The CSRC Library was delighted to play impromptu host to John Sullivan on February 15. Sullivan is a professor-researcher at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and founder of the IDIEZ Project for Nahuatl Language Revitalization, a program that is housed locally at Cal State L.A. He discussed the IDIEZ Project’s immersion program and the challenges and benefits of keeping the indigenous language alive today. He also taught attendees some Nahuatl vocabulary and etymology.
Vigil speaks on radical politics
On February 28 political activist Ernesto B. Vigil gave a talk titled “Radical Politics in the Chicano Movement: Denver as a Case Study” at the CSRC Library. Vigil was a member of the Crusade for Justice from 1968 to 1981. During that time he met Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, founder of the Crusade. Vigil has since performed and published research related to political organizing and radical politics within the Chicano movement.
New video features Castillo exhibition
Chon A. Noriega was interviewed by the Fowler Museum for a short video created in conjunction with the L.A. Xicano exhibition Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo
, which drew entirely from the Oscar Castillo Photograph Collection at the CSRC Library. Castillo is also interviewed in the video. Watch it here
New videos on CSRC YouTube
Remarks made at the CSRC Annual Open House on October 24, 2011, are now viewable on the CSRC YouTube channel
. CSRC director Chon A. Noriega, artist Harry Gamboa Jr., former UCLA Graduate Division director Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, CSRC assistant director Javier Iribarren, former CSRC director Carlos M. Haro, and Center for the Study of Women director and professor Kathleen McHugh spoke at the occasion, which included a birthday celebration for Noriega. The event was held in the courtyard of UCLA’s Fowler Museum, where two of the CSRC’s L.A. Xicano exhibitions had recently opened.
Artist talks by Judithe Hernandez and John Valadez, given as part of the Fowler Museum’s “Culture Fix” public program series, are now online, as is a video of a paper fashion workshop taught by artist Patssi Valdez to students from the Los Angeles High School of the Arts. Each of these programs was presented in conjunction with the L.A. Xicano exhibition Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement.
Also online is Ramón A. Gutiérrez’s talk “Utopian and Dystopian Narratives of the Chicano Past, Present, and Future,” which he gave on February 8 at the CSRC Library. Gutiérrez is the Preston & Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor in United States History and the College at the University of Chicago. Laura E. Gomez, professor of law at UCLA, served as discussant.
CSRC in the News
“Academy Award Winners Haven't Included Latino Actors, Nonwhite Actresses in 10 Years”
Media coverage of CSRC policy brief on the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees and winners.
blog), February 26, 2012 (PDF
Other articles on the CSRC policy brief:
“And the Oscar Winner Is ... White (Mostly)”
(from AFP), February 26, 2012 (PDF
“No Acting Oscar in the Last Decade Has Gone to Latino, Asian, or Native American”
February 26, 2012 (PDF
“Oscars Leaving Black American Blue”
February 26, 2012 (PDF
“Oscars 2012: Despite Halle and Denzel, Gold Mostly Eludes Nonwhites"
The Envelope: 24 Frames
blog), February 24, 2012 (PDF
“National Hispanic Media Coalition to Poll Thousands about Hate Speech in Media”
Cites the CSRC's study on hate speech on commercial talk radio.
February 22, 2012 (PDF
“Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement”
Notes that the exhibition reveals how artists “navigated and imagined the social spaces of Los Angeles.”
February 21, 2012 (PDF
“Asco: Chicano Art Heroes”
Review of the LACMA exhibition, which features works from the CSRC's collections.
Winter 2012 (PDF
“Local Rivera Dishes Art-Inspired Cuisine”
Article about a special menu offered at Playa and Rivera that was inspired by PST, including two works in CSRC's L.A. Xicano exhibitions.
February 21, 2012 (PDF
Other articles on the PST menu:
“Pacific Standard Time Secret Menu”
PST in LA,
February 21, 2012 (PDF
“Where Art Meets Cuisine: Pacific Standard Time's 'Art as an Appetizer' Menu at Playa and Rivera”
Caroline on Crack,
February 13, 2012 (PDF
“Art as an Appetizer: Secret Menu at Playa and Rivera Inspired by Pacific Standard Time"
Thirsty in LA,
February 10, 2012 (PDF
“Art as an Appetizer: Secret Menu at John Sedlar's Playa and Rivera”
February 9, 2012 (PDF
“Pacific Standard Time’s ‘Art as an Appetizer’ (aka Secret Menu at Playa and Rivera)”
February 9, 2012 (PDF
“Chef John Sedlar’s Rivera and Playa Have a Secret ... Menu”
Street Gourmet LA,
February 8, 2012 (PDF
“Pacific Food Time: Art as an Appetizer”
Pacific Standard Time
(blog), February 8, 2012 (PDF
“Food and Drink as Art? Pacific Standard Time”
February 8, 2012 (PDF
“John Sedlar Creates Pacific Standard Time Menu at Playa, with Dishes Inspired by L.A. Art”
February 6, 2012 (PDF
Review of Malaquias Montoya recommends it to “art students, activists, and those interested in popular art.”
Colonial Latin American Historical Review
, Spring 2008 [sic
“From the Ghetto to Graduate Studies”
An article by Alvaro Huerta about his educational journey.
The Daily Californian,
February 6, 2012 (PDF
"'Book of Want' at the Chicano Studies Research Center Library"
Event announcement for a book signing and reading by author Daniel Olivas.
La Bloga, February 6, 2012 (PDF
Review notes that Mural Remix: Sandra de La Loza is “refreshing and energizing.”
(SFMOMA), February 2, 2012 (PDF
“Fowler Museum to Celebrate Chicano Culture with La Santa Cecilia and Patssi Valdez”
Announcement for event held in conjunction with Mapping Another L.A. and Oscar Castillo.
February 2, 2012 (PDF
“Review: Four Los Angeles Exhibits”
Review of Art Along the Hyphen lauds its "deep insights ... into the American experience."
Art For a Change,
January 27, 2012 (PDF
PDFs of all articles are available on the CSRC website.
All CSRC events are free unless otherwise noted.
Exhibition celebrates Ruben Salazar
¡Feliz Cumpleañs! Ruben Salazar: The Life and Legacy of the Chicano Journalism Maestro celebrates the life and career of journalist Ruben Salazar, who covered the Chicano Movement as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The one-day exhibition will be Saturday, March 3, 2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m, at the historic Plaza de la Raza, located in Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights. Materials in ¡Feliz Cumpleañs! are from two of the CSRC Library’s collections: the Carlos Vasquez Papers and the CSRC Serials and Poster Collection. The event, which is free to the public, will include a panel discussion with Chicana/o historians and activists, a performance by Chicano musician Mark Guerrero, and dramatic readings by students from Monterey Continuation School in East Los Angeles.
Ove Trans will present talk on Oaxacan migrant communities
Lars Ove Trans, a PhD fellow in the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen, will present “New Sites of Government: Voices, Silences, Exits and Re-entries in Oaxacalifornia,” a talk based on his ongoing research of indigenous migrant communities from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The talk will take place Monday, March 5, 12:00–1:30 p.m., in the CSRC Library. The event is co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Mexican Studies.
Chavez to discuss history of West LA barrios
On Wednesday, March 7, 1:00 p.m., in the CSRC Library, Miguel Chavez, director of the Chicana and Chicano Studies at St. Cloud State University, will discuss his study “Las Cuatro Esquinas (The Four Corners): The Chicana and Chicano Movement in the West Side of Los Angeles, 1963–1979.” His is the first study to examine the history and development of el movimiento in four historical Mexican barrios in West Los Angeles. According to Chavez’s findings, the term “Las Cuatro Esquinas” was used by activists as a political slogan to politicize and unite Mexican working-class communities on the city’s west side. The event is co-sponsored by the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies.
CSRC at NACCS
CSRC archivist and librarian Lizette Guerra will participate in two roundtables at this year’s National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) conference, March 14–17, in Chicago. For the first roundtable, “Building Transformative Collections: Chicana and Chicano Representation within Libraries, Archives, and Museums,” Guerra will be presenting with librarians and archivists Lillian Castillo-Speed (UC Berkeley) and Romelia Salinas (Cal State L.A.) and undergraduate Helga Salinas (UCLA) on current library-based initiatives that advocate for community-oriented collecting practices. Guerra’s second roundtable, “Uncovering the Chicana Archive: Problems, Challenges, and Possibilities,” will include historians, archivists, media producers, and activists from California schools as well as the University of Michigan. They will discuss new work that is beginning the process of recovering the important contributions of Chicanas to political thought and praxis. In addition, the panelists will address the politics of archival recovery and the challenge of creating a more inclusive history of the civil rights era through archival research.
Bienvenidos to first Chávez Center doctoral students
The CSRC welcomes the first incoming class of graduate students admitted to the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies PhD program. The seven newly admitted students will be touring the campus on March 9, 2012, and will be stopping at the CSRC Library to learn about the materials available within the collections and the CSRC’s significant academic publishing program.
Cypress College Puente Program visits CSRC
On February 23 thirty-six students from the Puente Program at Cypress College visited the CSRC as part of the program’s Northern UC Campus Tour. The Puente Program is designed to assist students of all backgrounds who intend to transfer to four-year universities by providing preparation through workshops, tutoring services, and campus tours. The UCLA tour was followed by a visit to UC Santa Barbara
New issue of Aztlán is in the mail
The spring 2012 issue of Aztlán is on its way to subscribers. The essay section begins and ends with examinations of the immigrant experience, past and present, as portrayed in Mexican American folksongs and evidenced by the immigrant rights movement among students in Las Vegas. The other two essays in this issue focus on Chicana/o literature: one analyzes the nuances in the writings of Richard Rodriguez, and the other assesses the political potency of Ana Castillo’s humor. The dossier section, guest edited by Alejandro Lugo, offers a reflection on and celebration of anthropologist Renato Rosaldo and his influential 1989 book Culture and Truth. The cover and the artist’s communiqué showcase Robert Gonzales (1939–1981), an abstract artist and a co-founder of Galería de la Raza in San Francisco. Visit the Press’s website for more information about the issue.
Policy brief focuses on Oscars
The lack of diversity among winners and nominees for the Academy Awards is the subject of Not Quite a Breakthrough: The Oscars and Actors of Color, 2002–2012, CSRC Latino Policy & Issues Brief No. 27. The report, by Russell K. Robinson, Su Li, Angela Makabali, and Kaitlyn Murphy, of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, UC Berkeley School of Law, reveals in stark terms that little progress has been made for actors of color since 2012, when four actors of color were nominated and Halle Berry and Denzel Washington each received an Oscar. See “In the News,” above, for media coverage. All issues in the CSRC Latino Policy & Issues Brief series are available online.