The Chicano Mural Movement of the Southwest: Populist Public Art and Chicano Political Activism
Date of Award
School of Urban and Regional Studies
This work examines an art movement that was a direct outgrowth of a populist civil rights movement of the late 1960â€™s in the Southwest United States. This art, the Chicano Murals created as part of el Movimiento in San Diego, California was intended primarily as a didactic communication medium to reach into the barrios and marginalized neighborhoods for the primary purpose of carrying a resistance message to the semiliterate mestizo population within. Its secondary purpose was to bring a message from within these minority neighborhoods outward to the privileged elite, both Anglo and Hispanic, that within the confines of the barrio there exists a culture and heritage that has value. The Chicano Murals were ubiquitous throughout the southwest United States with concentration of the art in those areas adjacent to the Mexican border. This work examines some of the murals, and the politics associated with their creation principally in San Diego, California, and some activities in Los Angeles, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. This dissertation posits that it has been well established that art in public space is often a contentious matter and when it also carries a contra message, as did the Chicano murals, it may be considered intrusive and abrasive. The social environment into which these murals were insinuated--the public sphere, the intellectual territory of high art and the elite system of private and government cultural patronage, are examined in the context of their effect upon the mural content and conversely, the effects of these murals upon diversity in the high art and museology of the United States.
Kenny, John, "The Chicano Mural Movement of the Southwest: Populist Public Art and Chicano Political Activism" (2006). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 492.
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