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Chicano Culture in the Arts (panel discussion)

Date: Sunday, January 27, 2008
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations required.

Many people are more familiar with images of the "homeboy" and the "gangster" from East Los Angeles than with any other visual depiction of Chicano culture. How have such images become so dominant, and what role do the arts have in creating and altering perceptions of Chicano identity? Join Luis Rodriguez, native of East L.A. and author of Always Running, a vivid memoir of gang life, as he moderates a discussion with muralist Ernesto de la Loza, visual artist Alma Lopez, and author Yxta Maya Murray, whose work consistently challenges stereotypes of Chicano identity.

The panelists discuss representations of East Los Angeles and Chicano culture in their own work and in the photographs of of Graciela Iturbide, which are featured in the exhibition The Goat's Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide (on view December 18, 2007–April 13, 2008 at the Getty Center). Do Iturbide's beautiful portraits of the White Fence gang from the 1980s perpetuate stereotypes or allow us to see beyond them?

Tattoo / Lopez

About the Panelists

Luis Rodriguez, moderator
One of the leading Chicano writers in the country, Luis Rodriguez has published ten books in memoir, fiction, nonfiction, children's literature, and poetry. His best known book, Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., is both an international best seller and one of the 100 most censored books in the United States. Rodriguez works with current and former members of gangs and other disaffected groups using dialogue, ritual, story, poetry, and art to address vital issues of race, class, gender, and personal rage.

Yxta Maya Murray
Yxta Maya Murray is an award-winning novelist whose stories focus on strong and complicated Hispanic women in Los Angeles. She is the author of the books Locas, What It Takes to Get to Vegas, The Conquest, and The Queen Jade: A Novel. Locas, her first novel, was praised as a "convincing, under-the-skin work" that "gives readers inner-city gang life from the eyes of women." Murray is also professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Luis Rodriguez

Alma Lopez
Born in Mexico and rasied in California, Alma Lopez is an artist, activist, and visual storyteller working in painting, photo based digital prints, and video. She is internationally recognized for her innovative digital images, which recontextualize cultural icons and call attention to issues of race, gender and sexuality. In 2001, the exhibition of her digital print Our Lady, which features a young woman in a bikini of roses representing the Virgin of Guadalupe, spurred protests by conservative legislators and religious activists.

Ernesto de la Loza
Muralist Ernesto de la Loza has been painting walls since 1974, when he worked as mural artist and project director at Estrada Courts housing project in East Los Angeles. His vibrant murals focus on Chicano and Chicana identity and issues of urban life such as immigration, economic exploitation, and environmental protection.

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.

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Cholas, White Fence, East L.A. / Iturbide