While much attention has been paid to Chicano painting, Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection is one of the first books about the vibrant and exciting prints created by American artists of Mexican and Latino heritage in the decades following the Chicano movement of the 1970s. Drawn entirely from a major gift to the McNay Art Museum by Drs. Harriett and Ricardo Romo, among the most important collectors of this material in the United States, Estampas de la Raza is a significant document of the development of printmaking in the Latino community and a stunning survey of many of the best prints to emerge from such influential print shops as Self Help Graphics, Modern Multiples, and Coronado Studios.
The book includes more than sixty prints by nearly fifty artists with full biographies of each artist and a discussion of the artists’ approaches to representing the Mexican American, Latino, and Chicano experience. That experience is all here in vivid colors and bold forms—cultural icons such as the Virgen de Guadalupe, Frida Kahlo, and César Chávez; pachucos, vatos, and chicas; the sociopolitical struggles of the Chicano movement and the forging of a new cultural identity; as well as zoot suits, lowriders, Tejano music, tacos, and tattoos. The book is as much a celebration of the rich Latino culture as it is a chronicle of one of the most fascinating, and overlooked, aspects of contemporary American art—the great contribution of Chicano and Latino artists to the American printmaking tradition.
By Lyle Williams
Lyle W. Williams became the McNay’s first curator of prints and drawings in 1992. His previous publications include Pattern and Invention: Ornament Prints, 1500–1800; Kent Rush: A Retrospective, 1970–1998; From Goya to Johns: Fifty Master Prints from the McNay Art Museum; and Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920–1950.