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Interns & Pachucos: An Exploration of Chicano Art in Westwood

Date: 
Mon, 2016-08-01
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This week, LA Plaza interns visited the Hammer and Fowler museums in Westwood.


The journey began at the Fowler Museum on UCLA's campus, where they visited José Montoya’s Abundant Harvest: Works on Paper/Works on Life. There, they immersed themselves into the largest retrospective collection of Montoya's drawings to date.


Montoya was a poet, artist, educator, and activist whose work advanced the cause of the Chicano movement. His passions, struggles, and experiences as a Chicano who, as a child worked in the fields alongside his father, evidently inform his artwork and writing, which depict everyday pachucas, pachucos, campesinos, and revolucionarios in acts of everyday resistance. This exhibit was particularly distinct given Montoya's choice of canvas— most drawings are on scraps of paper, napkins and paper towels—and where the viewer is accustomed to looking up at artworks on walls, José Montoya’s Abundant Harvest asks them to look down and into the crates that hold and support his legacy.


Welcoming you the exhibition, is a large draped figure of a pachuco standing firm at the entrance—he's hard to miss! The exhibition itself was organized into four rows of boxes, which were emblematic of the wooden boxes and crates used by campesinos working in la uva. Each row represented one of the four directions: North, East, South, and West, and had a corresponding theme for the works of art and writing that they held. Moreover, the backdrop to the entire exhibition was a large wall depicting the United Farmworkers Association flag—solidifying the space as one rooted in Chicano struggles and legacies.


Unfortunately, the Jose Montoya exhibition closed on July 17, but see below for some awesome pictures and check-in soon for the blog post on the intern's trip to The Hammer Museum!