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Art Along the Hyphen: The Mexican-American Generation

One city, five exhibitions, more than eighty artists.

L.A. Xicano is a unique collaboration between the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and three major Los Angeles museums — the Autry National Center, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, organizers reported in a media release.

A set of five interrelated exhibitions, L.A. Xicano explores the diverse artistic contributions of Mexican-descent artists since 1945. The exhibitions present hundreds of rarely seen paintings, sculptures, drawings, posters, murals, and photographs created by artists born from 1881 to 1983. Together, the five exhibitions provide the basis for a visual dialogue about Los Angeles and contemporary art.

This project uses Xicano, the alternate spelling of Chicano, with an X derived from the Spanish transcription of the Nahuatl sound “ch.”

We do so not only as a gesture toward what poet Alurista describes as a distinctive Xicano artistic practice that first emerged in the 1940s but also to draw upon the multiple and conflicting meanings of the letter X–as a marker of place, identity, intention, and difference. In this way, X marks the necessary meeting point between the city of Los Angeles and its first, and now largest, population.

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