Arts professor’s anthology named one of 'Best Art Books of the Decade'

Jennifer González
Jennifer González
Chicano and Chicana Art book cover

Chicano and Chicana Art: A Critical Anthology, a diverse collection of essays edited by UCSC history of art and visual culture professor Jennifer González, has been named one of the “Best Art Books of the Decade” by ArtNews.

The oldest and most widely circulated art magazine in the world, ArtNews has a readership that spans 124 countries and includes collectors, dealers, historians, artists, museum directors, curators, and connoisseurs.

Chicano and Chicana Art: A Critical Anthology presents an overview of the history and theory of Chicano and Chicana art from the 1960s to the mid-2000s.

Designed to be an introductory teaching collection, the book is comprised of thematically organized essays by leading scholars, tracing the development of Chicano/a art from its early role in the Chicano civil rights movement to its mainstream acceptance in American art institutions.

González served as chief editor for the 552-page book, which was published in February 2019 by Duke University Press, in collaboration with co-editors Ondine Chavoya, Chon Noriega and Tere Romo.

The ArtNews survey of the best art books published from 2010 to 2019 noted: “One of many efforts in recent years to create a fuller picture of art history, this anthology is the first of its kind: a collection devoted to a range of Chicanx artists--from Amalia Mesa-Bains to Carlos Almaraz--who have long been kept out of displays at American museums and are now slowly making their way into the spotlight. Though focused on particular identities, the book broaches larger questions that have pervaded debates about representation overall.”

As González noted in the book’s introduction:

“We hope this anthology will draw the interest of students of Chicana/o history and culture, as well as art theorists and visual studies scholars who practice in a field that has, until relatively recently, generally ignored the contribution of Chicana/o art to American and contemporary art history.

“What does the future hold for globally mobile citizens, refugees, Indigenous populations, and noncitizens? Are the terms ‘Chicano’ and ‘Chicana’ irretrievably historical and dated, or will they be taken up again, in a new way? How will marginalized populations respond creatively to ongoing, systematic economic and racial injustice? These are important concerns of our present time; they have changed little in the past fifty years since the Chicano movement was launched. Developing a response to these questions nevertheless remains one of the goals toward which Chicana/o art is directed, and to which this collection hopes to contribute.”