Category: Mexican Muralism

Prometheus: José Clemente Orozco

José Clemente Orozco's Prometheus in Frary Hall at Pomona College. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

José Clemente Orozco's Prometheus in Frary Hall at Pomona College. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

The first modern fresco mural to be painted in the U.S. by a Mexican artist was titled Prometheus, and it was painted in 1930 at Pomona College in Claremont, California by José Clemente Orozco.

I photographed the mural in late January 2014, and those photos are the focus of this web post: close-up details that show the artist’s hand and the technical bravura of Orozco’s fresco painting.

The College commissioned Orozco to create a mural for its newly constructed Frary Hall dining room, and the institution’s enthusiastic students helped to raise the necessary funds for the mural’s creation. The mural would occupy a twenty by twenty-eight foot wall behind a low stage located at the head of the hall, an architectural space encompassed by a ceiling high white plaster arch.

Orozco choose Prometheus as the subject of his fresco mural. One of the immortal Titans from the ancient Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses, Prometheus was said to have created man from clay, and then enraged the gods by giving mortals the gift of fire, enabling enlightenment, and progress. The Greeks of old considered Prometheus, not just a God of fire, but the bringer of the arts, sciences, and civilization. There is little wonder why Orozco the angry visionary decided to paint a mural of the Greek deity in an American liberal arts college. Cloaked in mythology, the work metaphorically addressed the state of the world, a subject never far from the artist’s mind.

The colossal figure of Prometheus (seen directly below) completely dominates the mural. As the Titan steals fire from heaven, earthly mortals surround him, jostling and writhing in various states of upheaval, bewilderment, and confrontation. From a distance one cannot see what Prometheus is reaching for because the arch obscures the ceiling and side panels of the mural. Stepping up to the lip of the stage it becomes apparent that the Titan is pulling fire down from the sky, the artist depicts this ingeniously.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

The giant’s hands meld with flames in cubist abstraction, and the glow from the blaze illuminates the gargantuan form of the deity. Directly above this scene - though not shown in my photo - the ceiling is painted as the cobalt blue dome of heaven; a geometric abstraction painted in red hues represents God as a great mystery.

The illustration below shows a set of figures located to the lower right of the central figure of Prometheus. The cluster of men is part of a greater tableau that depicts masses of people in great anguish and turmoil.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

The man with his arm raised seems to be reeling backwards, the man above him lurching forward belligerently; both are fine examples of how Orozco handled the human form. The figures are painted in near expressionist frenzy, a jumble of impasto brush strokes, watercolor-like washes, and incised lines scoured directly into the fresco’s wet lime plaster. There are an abundance of heavy black lines, but they do not delineate the figures, rather, they are heavily over-painted in a palette of volcanic earth tones - ochre, burnt sienna and umber, cadmium red. The colors, not line, define form.

Directly below is a set of figures located to the lower left of Prometheus. The faces belong to rough and primitive men. One of them lifts his eyes to gaze upon the mighty Titan, but the trio remains uncomprehending.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Orozco’s technique in the above is pure expressionism; the coarse faces are bluntly composed of forceful brushstrokes in black, along with smeared tones and thin washes of grey.

The grouping of women’s faces shown directly below are found in a crowd scene located at lower right of Prometheus. Entirely composed from thin washes of burnt sienna, the women could have been drawn by the great French political and social satirist, Honoré Daumier (1808-1879).

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

In the above, Orozco captured a range of emotions, from resigned indifference to hysteria. Unlike the fresco paintings of Diego Rivera, where the original outlines of a drawing can be detected beneath the washes of water-based paint, there is little evidence of Orozco using a detailed “cartoon” or drawing in charcoal to guide his application of pigments. Though he did use preparatory sketches in the production of his Prometheus mural, it largely has a free-hand, spontaneous quality to it. He painted broadly with washes, then adeptly used pointed brushes to add final linear details.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

The trio of women shown above are found to the left of Prometheus. Beautifully painted in thin washes of red and black, they are the only mortals in the mural to appear benevolent and capable of lofty thoughts. Their hands clasped as if in prayer, they look skyward, ready for the fire that will grace humans with enlightenment. Again, the artist eschewed line in favor of using color to define form; the three women were painted quickly and seemingly without effort.

In the lower left of the mural, the figures shown below embrace. Surrounded by upheaval they await their fate in an uncertain world. Painted in a limited palette of earth tones, Orozco created the muscular back with broad brushstrokes, allowing color to modulate form. The light on the shoulder and arm was created by letting the white plaster ground show through the thinnest of washes.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Below is a stunning group of men’s faces that are located to the right of the central figure of Prometheus. They are part of a fraternity, and they march for some unknown cause. But the men are exhausted, and with their eyes closed their expressions suggest a certain fatalism, an acceptance of an unpleasant inevitability.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

The above portraits bear a remarkable similarity - both compositionally and politically - to an earlier work by the magnificent German artist, Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). To protest the horror of imperialist war, Kollwitz created the 1921 woodcut, Die Freiwilligen (The Volunteers). She portrayed young German men volunteering to fight for the German Empire, being led to the battlefield by Death - who plays a military marching drum. In 1930 Orozco watched in dismay as young working class men once again readied themselves for sacrifice on the fields of war, devoting themselves to oligarchs, militarists, and political wolves. As fascism was rising across Europe, Orozco’s mural was not simply the recounting of an ancient mythology, it was an expression of hope that the fire of Prometheus would bring enlightenment to us mortals before it was too late.

The detail of Orozco’s mural show below contains the same group of men written about in the above. It is however worth displaying a wider view of the scene for the brilliant compositional device the artist used showing the horizon line where fire from the sky met the earth. Note the downtrodden masses, ashen grey and heads bowed, who march with what appear to be black banners of political protest and struggle.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Orozco was certainly sympathetic to revolution, but in my opinion he also cautioned against revolutionary zeal going astray; the warning being that the oppressed could become the new oppressors. Orozco tempered the perception of insurrection with a visual trick; the banners held aloft in the above, are not political standards at all, but scorching fiery rays striking the earth as Prometheus steals fire from the heavens.

A tighter view of the same scene is found below; the detail of the downtrodden masses reveals a turncoat in their midst. The backstabber not shown in the photo, has extended his arm and is about to strike at the nearest blameless person with the dagger he wields. Orozco used this metaphorical device to rebuke the confusion and lack of unity found among the subjugated and exploited.

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

Detail of Orozco's Prometheus. Photo by Mark Vallen ©

There is of course much more to the Prometheus mural, but to show it all in detail on this web log would be too difficult. Instead, I invite everyone who finds themselves near Southern California to pay a visit to Pomona College to see the work up close in all of its grandeur. During the academic year Frary Hall is open everyday of the week, but only at certain times. Be sure to check their hours of operation if you plan a visit.

Art Is For Everyone!

On September 27, 2013 the “liberal” American magazine, The New Republic, published an article by its editor-at-large Michael Kinsley. In the piece titled If They Replaced Detroit’s Art Treasures with Fakes, Would Anyone be Able to Tell?, Kinsley suggested that a proposal made by Harvard political scientist Edward Banfield 30 years ago might be the solution to the crisis at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Banfield had written that museum collections should be sold off and replaced by reproductions, his logic being that most people would not know the difference. Kinsley remarked that personally he “certainly couldn’t” tell the difference, and then went on to add his own smug ignorance to Banfield’s bottomless pit of philistinism by adding that fakes placed in the DIA would not even have to be good quality reproductions.

Kinsley claimed that “most people’s appreciation of art” comes from seeing “posters or postcards or beach towels or t-shirts,” and he concluded his piece of writing with the tongue in cheek intimation that the DIA’s masterworks could be replaced “secretly” by making “the switcheroo late one night.” Kinsley was being facetious of course, but his flippancy masked a barely concealed contempt for art and its enthusiasts. Kinsley neglected to mention that Edward Banfield was also opposed to the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts and that he was an advisor to Republican presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. So much for liberalism.

But there is a precedent to the boorish notions of Banfield and Kinsley. At the end of 1962 the Louvre in Paris loaned Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to the U.S. government for exhibit in the United States. The painting was endlessly hyped by the media, resulting in a sort of frenzy, or what arts writer and social historian Robert Hughes came to call, the Mona Lisa Curse.

On January 8, 1963 the Mona Lisa went on view at the National Gallery in the nation’s capital; U.S. President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson were in attendance. The painting itself was given Secret Service protection at the same level ordinarily given to presidents. On February 4, 1963, the Mona Lisa went on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where during a three and a half week run, over one million people shuffled by the celebrated oil painting. When hearing that the Mona Lisa was coming to America, Andy Warhol made the oafish wisecrack, “Why don’t they have someone copy it and send the copy, no one would know the difference.”

Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight apparently could not countenance Kinsley’s foolishness, and so fired a metaphorical “shot across the bow” at The New Republic’s editor-at-large titled, A suggestion to replace art with reproductions in bankrupt Detroit. Knight’s withering screed berated Kinsley for adding to the “rich tradition of know-nothings writing about art and museums,” and for advocating “Art for the aristocrats, reproductions for the peasants.”

Though I agreed with much of what Knight wrote, he concluded that Kinsley’s piece failed as satire because it labored under “the common misconception that art is for everyone, even though it isn’t. Art is not for everyone (that would be TV), it’s for anyone - which is not the same thing.” In those words I find an assessment as absurd as Kinsley’s. Knight contradicts himself by admonishing Kinsley for having an aristocratic view of art, then proceeds to express what is the quintessential patrician view of art - it is not for everyone.

I have no regard for the works of postmodern artist Tracey Emin, who I am told is one of Britain’s greatest living artists and a “leading light” in the circle of bloated art star frauds nicknamed the “Young British Artists.” But after she received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) at the investiture ceremony held on March 7, 2013 at Buckingham Palace in London, Emin said: “I think that art’s for everybody and everybody’s entitled to the best culture, the best literature, the best education, the best that everyone can have.” Emin, who has declared herself to be a royalist, voted for the Conservatives in the 2010 election, and accepted a commission from Tory Prime Minister David Cameron to create an installation piece for 10 Downing Street.  She can proclaim that “art is for everybody,” but the art critic at the “liberal” L.A. Times declares the exact opposite. My goodness… the world has been turned upside down.

If “art is not for everyone” as Mr. Knight tells us, why then is it part of the core curriculum of the U.S. public education system? Should we stop teaching children about art? Art education in U.S. public schools has suffered brutal cutbacks for the last few decades, and Mr. Knight’s unhelpful proclamation only serves to place the finishing touches on its demise. My point is that we are not born with language and writing skills anymore than we have an inborn sophisticated appreciation of art and aesthetics… all of these things are obtained through education and socialization. If, for whatever reason, we stopped teaching children the use of language and writing, we would not have to wait long to see the harmful results. Curtailing or eliminating arts education in American schools will have no less a detrimental outcome.

Knight rebukes Kinsley for his “slide into phony populism” and then stakes out the anti-egalitarian position for himself by writing: “a great thing about democracy is that it aspires to create opportunities for anyone to become an elitist (….) That’s a primary reason we even have places like the Detroit Institute of Arts.” Actually no, the great thing about democracy is that it takes power from the hands of elites and places it in the hands of ordinary people, at least in theory it does. I do not call for the defense of the DIA because it helps to develop and maintain elitism, I support the museum because making a great collection of art accessible to everyday working people is a fundamental aspect of a democratic society.

Kinsley’s open contempt towards art and its aficionados, and Knight’s doggedness that “art is not for everyone” are both unwise if not laughable positions. I find them irksome because I have always believed and advocated that art is for everyone. I say this not as an activist, a trendy dilettante, an academic, or God forbid, a bourgeois art critic. I make the pronouncement as an artist who has been creating drawings, prints, and paintings his entire life.

A foundation of this conviction of mine is partly based upon seeing how art and culture has operated on a grass-roots level in the Mexican American community. “Making due with what you have” is a partial definition for “rasquache,” a Chicano term that describes an aesthetic of necessity and defiance. Rasquache sprang from poor barrios where working class people had few resources and even less access to art, at least how the dominant society defined art. Creating something out of nothing was rasquache, it was a “people’s art” made by those untrained in art, and it became a primary force in Chicano art and aesthetics.

In this short interview with Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, a foremost scholar of Chicano and U.S. Latino art, we are given a clear definition of rasquachismo and how it has shaped working class Chicano culture. Ybarra-Frausto makes clear that rasquache is not analogous to the kitsch or low-brow art of the postmodern “avant-garde.” Rasquache has a class dimension, it is rooted in poor Chicano communities and has always been a form of cultural resistance to the dominant society.

During the Chicano Arts Movement of the late 1960s, artists embraced rasquache and exalted the sleek modernist lines and intricate paint jobs of low-rider cars, the altars and religious icons of pious Catholics, the uniquely ornate placas (graffiti) found on the street, the attire of Cholos wearing button down flannel shirts with bandanas around their foreheads, the “Mom & Pop” storefronts painted in bright colors, the iconography of pre-Columbian civilizations and the Mexican Revolution, and so much more. Chicano artists were stirred by the life found in their communities, and they distilled that experience into a unique aesthetic. Those artistic sensibilities still largely imbue and guide contemporary Chicano art.

Rasquache is a word that once referred to things tawdry and cheap, but its meaning was changed in the late 60s to describe the assortment of visual cues, histories, and cultural identifiers that made up the new Chicano aesthetic. At the time there was an explosion of murals, theater pieces, and posters that were rooted in rasquache sensibilities, works that sought to uplift, beautify, defend, and unite the Mexican American community through art. This is something my friend and artistic associate Gilbert “Magú” Luján (RIP) discussed with me on more than a few occasions. Artists like Magú felt that art was for, and sprang from, the community. Mexican Americans have developed their art and culture from the ground up, nurturing and cultivating it even as it was denied a place in America’s cultural institutions. To Chicanos, Knight’s proclamation that “art is not for everyone” sounds not only ridiculous, but discriminatory.

But there was another dimension to the Chicano Art Movement in the late 1960s. We were inspired by the likes of Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros of the Mexican Muralist School. Those artists created public works in the belief that art was for everyone, and that working people would be enriched by interactions with art. Though snubbed today by those who spout postmodern gobbledygook, that democratic impulse in art still survives.

I must remind the “art is not for everyone” crowd of the 1932 América Tropical mural created in Los Angeles by Siqueiros. Preserved in situ by the Getty Conservation Institute, the mural on L.A.’s downtown Olvera Street now has its own museum, which opened to the public in October, 2012 to great acclaim. América Tropical is one of L.A.’s finest historic examples of art being for everyone; it is a work that birthed a new phase in American muralism that eventually led to Los Angeles becoming the “mural capital of the world” by the early 1970s.

In some quarters art has become a cynical intellectual exercise that is incomprehensible without an art degree and knowledge in dubious and obscurest theories. Things are really much simpler; making and appreciating art is what makes us human. Art is but one facet of an ordered human community, it has always been so. If you want to know what mathematics are all about, you might want to ask a mathematician. If curious about the stars in the heavens, talk to an astronomer. It follows that if you want to know about art, you should ask an artist.

Leave the critics to argue amongst themselves.

For Greater Glory: In the name of Christ

This article is a critique of For Greater Glory, the latest film by director Dean Wright that purports to tell the “true story” of the Cristero War, the armed uprising of Catholics against the Mexican government that began in 1926 and lasted until the late 1930s. Touted as a “sweeping historic epic”, the film presents only the viewpoints of the fundamentalist Cristeros (Fighters for Christ), an outlook that distorts a complicated period in Mexico’s history.

"Maestro, tú estás solo" (Teacher, you are alone) - Leopoldo Méndez. Linoleum cut print. 1938. Intended as a way to oppose violent religious extremism, Maestro was created as a linoleum cut and then published as a flyer meant for mass distribution.

"Maestro, tú estás solo" (Teacher, you are alone) - Leopoldo Méndez. Linoleum cut print. 1938. Intended as a way to oppose violent religious extremism, Maestro was created as a linoleum cut and then published as a flyer meant for mass distribution.

Illustrating my essay are prints by the Mexican artist Leopoldo Méndez, who opposed the armed uprising and treated the Cristero War as a subject for his artworks. In particular I am featuring the artist’s lithographs En nombre de Cristo, han asesinado a más de 200 maestros (In the name of Christ: they have assassinated more than 200 teachers), a 1938 portfolio of prints by Méndez that portrayed the violent fanaticism of the so-called “Fighters for Christ”.

In my July 5, 2009 article, Mexican Prints at University of Notre Dame, I brought up the topic of the Cristero War when describing the lithographs by Méndez. I am highlighting his works here since they are the perfect counterpoint to Wright’s ahistorical cinematic vision. Later in this article I will analyze Méndez’s prints in some detail, as well as discuss encounters other well known Mexican artists had with the Cristeros.

The first illustration in this article, a 1938 linoleum cut print titled Maestro, tú estás solo (Teacher, you are alone), is also by Méndez, but it predates his In The Name Of Christ portfolio. The image depicts a teacher beset by Cristero fanatics. Two of them, a wealthy man and a peasant woman, point their fingers and hurl insults at the educator. The other two are masked thugs; one prepares to stab the schoolteacher with a dagger and the other aims a revolver at him. The flyer’s text reads: “Teacher, you are alone against: The white guard assassins; The ignorant fueled by the rich; The slander that poisons and breaks your relationship with the people; Fight with illustrated propaganda, an effective weapon.”

The Cristero War was triggered in 1926 when President Plutarco Elías Calles began to rigorously enforce articles in the 1917 Constitution of Mexico meant to create a secular society and curb the influence of the Church in national life. Fighting paused when the U.S. brokered a “negotiated settlement” in 1929 to protect its oil interests in Mexico. Calles was president from 1924 to 1928, and dubbed himself Jefe Máximo (foremost chief). After his presidency, he in fact reigned as a shadow ruler during the “Maximato”, the period of Calles-controlled puppet presidents that lasted until 1934.

"Professor Ramón Orta del Río, killed in Barranca de Querétaro, municipality of Amatlan de Cañas, on June 4, 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

"Professor Ramón Orta del Río, killed in Barranca de Querétaro, municipality of Amatlan de Cañas, on June 4, 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

Bear in mind that starting in 1910 the Mexican people rose in revolution, overthrowing the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz (in office from 1876 to 1911), then crushing the regime of Victoriano Huerta (in office from 1913-1914).

The Catholic Church supported Díaz and Huerta; no doubt to protect Church land holdings from the landless majority. Written by Mexico’s revolutionaries after the fall of the old regimes, the 1917 Constitution guaranteed religious freedom, but also contained articles that reduced the enormous power of the Church.

Article 3 of the Constitution eliminated Church monopoly over education. Article 130 provided for the seperation of church and state. In 1926 President Calles passed the so-called “Calles Law” provisions that introduced harsh new rules aimed at the Church.

Anticlericalism has an even older history in Mexico. The rule of President Benito Juárez, who served as president from 1858 to 1864, was known as “La Reforma” for having restricted Church power. Juárez abolished religious courts, instituted civil marriage and nationalized cemeteries. He closed monasteries and seized Church lands without compensation, distributing the lands to landless campesinos (peasants).

For Greater Glory asserts that Mexico’s primary issue during the reign of President Calles was that of religious freedom, but the larger question for the country was how it could move beyond centuries of Catholic fundamentalism to embrace science and modernity. It is no small matter to have one’s country controlled by clerics; Mexico was in the grip of theocratic ideology in the early twentieth century. While I emphatically support religious freedom, I oppose religious fundamentalists when they seek to dominate and control others. Nevertheless, I also found the hash policies of President Calles to be reprehensible.

Here I would like to mention Galileo, who was persecuted by the Inquisition in 1633 for espousing the “heresy” that the earth revolved around the sun. Proclaiming Galileo’s theories “false and contrary to Holy Scripture”, the Vatican put Galileo under house arrest where he remained until his death in 1642. Not until 2000 did Pope John Paul II apologize for the treatment of Galileo, correctly stating that “science describes the physical world and how it works”, while the Bible “describes the spiritual world”. But such an enlightened view was not held by Mexico’s Cristeros, who preferred burning down secular schools over attending them.

"Professor José Martínez Ramírez, killed in Customatitla, Puebla, on February 28, 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

"Professor José Martínez Ramírez, killed in Customatitla, Puebla, on February 28, 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

For his part President Calles was no less intolerant, his troops killed their share of innocents. By 1929 the Fighters for Christ killed 56,882 people, while Calles’ soldiers killed some 30,000 Cristeros. The killing however was far from over.

I must admit to a personal interest in this history. My father was born in the northern port city of Guaymas, in the Mexican state of Sonora, which was also the birthplace of Plutarco Elías Calles in 1877.

My father came to the U.S. with his mother and family in 1926; his maternal Grandfather was José María Maytorena (1867-1948), a central character of the 1910 Mexican revolution. Maytorena led insurgents against the 35-year-old dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz.

José María Maytorena became the elected governor of the state of Sonora from 1911 to 1915. By 1914 Mexican revolutionary forces had split into two camps, the “Conventionalists” (followers of Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa), and the “Constitutionalists” (followers of Venustiano Carranza and Álvaro Obregón). In 1915 the Constitutionalist and future president of Mexico, General Plutarco Elías Calles, defeated the Conventionalists forces of Pancho Villa at the Battle of Agua Prieta in Sonora. The ensuing collapse unseated Maytorena - who fled to exile in the U.S., settling in Los Angeles, California, city of my birth many years later. In 1915, after preventing the success of Zapata and Villa, Carranza took the presidency with U.S. approval, and appointed Calles military commander and provisional governor of Sonora.

When reviewing For Greater Glory, right-wing critics invariably write about how the 1926 “socialist” or “leftist government” of “Marxist” President Calles attempted to crush religious liberty, such writers then attempt to draw parallels to the U.S. in 2012 and President Obama’s alleged “war on the Catholic Church”. Notwithstanding that historical records confirm Calles was not even a Marxist let alone a leftist, existing realities cannot be understood by taking a set of circumstances and outcomes from the past and simply superimposing them over the present.

For Greater Glory makes no mention of José de León Toral, a Cristero fanatic who on July 17, 1928 assassinated Álvaro Obregón, who had served as president from 1920 to 1924. After the term of Plutarco Calles, Obregón was re-elected in 1928, but his murderer prevented him from taking office. The killer managed to sneak into a banquet honoring Obregón, firing five shots into the leader’s face. After Toral was tried and convicted of murder, he went before a firing squad; his final words were the battle cry of the Cristeros, “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long Live Christ the King!)

"Professor Maria Salud Morales, murdered in Santa Rita Ranch, tenure of Tecario, Michoacan in February 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. The artist depicted the somber funeral of a female educator murdered by Cristeros. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

"Professor Maria Salud Morales, murdered in Santa Rita Ranch, tenure of Tecario, Michoacan in February 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. The artist depicted the somber funeral of a female educator murdered by Cristeros. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

A pivotal moment in the Cristero War, Obregón’s murder was left out of the film’s storyline; Toral’s terrorist act did not fit director Wright’s narrative of the Cristeros as pious, blameless, and reluctant insurgents. After Obregón’s assassination, Calles became the real power behind the next puppet president, Emilio Portes Gil.

It should be noted that director Dean Wright was the visual effects maven behind the Lord of the Rings cinematic trilogy.

Though Wright may have done justice to the characters dreamt up by J.R.R. Tolkien in that author’s late 1930s fantasy novels, his telling of Mexican history is closer to Tolkien’s flights of imagination than anything resembling an honest accounting of actual historic events. One could learn as much about Abraham Lincoln by watching Tim Burton’s preposterous Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

The left-wing Lázaro Cárdenas was elected president in 1934, and served until 1940; it was Cárdenas that finally put an end to the power of Calles - El Jefe Máximo. A second Cristero War began in 1934 when Catholic “rebels” took up arms against Cárdenas, outraged that he was building modern schools and promoting a secular education system; the In The Name Of Christ prints by Leopoldo Méndez were created during that period of crisis.

The socialist oriented President Cárdenas wanted education to reach the most neglected areas of Mexico, providing free schools and instruction to the illiterate and uneducated. Cárdenas described his “socialist” education model as necessary for the development of a modern society, saying it would “spiritually liberate the working and peasant classes so that they will not remain in the hands of hypocrites and deceivers who only want to keep them in the dark, so it [socialist education] can maintain the spirit of the masses, like workers and peasants, and especially the consciousness of women and the spirit of children living in ignorance.”

The Catholic fundamentalists fighting the Cárdenas government certainly kept unsavory allies; fighting along with them were the Sinarquistas (”those without anarchy”), a genuine fascist political party that railed in fury against Marxists and Jews. Also standing with the armed Catholic zealots was another openly fascist organization, the Acción Revolucionaria Mexicanista (Revolutionary Mexicanist Action), commonly known as the Camisas Doradas (Gold Shirts) for modeling their golden yellow military shirts after Hitler’s Brownshirts and Mussolini’s Blackshirts.

"General Plutarco Elías Calles is deported by order of the government of General Lázaro Cárdenas, 1936." - Linoleum cut print by Leopoldo Méndez and Alfredo Zalce. 1960. The print depicts the arrest of Calles, who was found by police at home in bed reading a Spanish translation of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. The officer in the center of the print points at the airplane that will fly Calles to exile in the United States. Méndez and Zalce created their print in 1960 at the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP - Popular Graphic Arts Workshop). Their work was published in the 1960 TGP portfolio, "450 Años De Lucha: Homenaje Al Pueblo Mexicano (450 Years of Struggle: Homage to the Mexican People).

"General Plutarco Elías Calles is deported by order of the government of General Lázaro Cárdenas, 1936." - Linoleum cut print by Leopoldo Méndez and Alfredo Zalce. 1960. The print depicts the arrest of Calles, who was found by police at home in bed reading a Spanish translation of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. The officer in the center of the print points at the airplane that will fly Calles to exile in the United States. Méndez and Zalce created their print in 1960 at the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP - Popular Graphic Arts Workshop). Their work was published in the 1960 TGP portfolio, "450 Años De Lucha: Homenaje Al Pueblo Mexicano (450 Years of Struggle: Homage to the Mexican People).

Having become an enemy of President Cárdenas, former president Calles associated with the deeply anti-communist Gold Shirts, who staged violent attacks against Cárdenas government officials and leftists. When Cárdenas discovered Calles was plotting a coup d’état against him, he ordered the ex-president’s arrest. On April 9, 1936 when officers went to Calles’ home to make the arrest, he was found reading a Spanish translation of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  Cárdenas subsequently had him deported to the United States.

It is certainly accurate to identify Calles as an unyielding atheist, but denying the existence of a supreme being did not make him a Marxist; those who label him along such lines only distort history to fit a right-wing political agenda.

The historian Ramón Eduardo Ruiz (1921-2010), was an author of 15 books on the subject of Mexican and Latin American history. Regarding President Calles, I take the liberty here to quote from Ruiz’s excellent Triumphs and Tragedy: A History of the Mexican People:

“As president, he tagged pernicious any revolutionary movement that attacked capitalism, welcoming foreign investors to Mexico. Barely in office, he ordered immigration officials to bar doors to ‘foreign leftists and communists,’ in 1929 severing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. (….) The Callistas endeavored to promote capitalist growth. Their goal was to put the nation’s finances back on their feet, to repair credit standing, and to expand infrastructure.”

In 1925 Calles founded the Banco de México (Bank of Mexico), the country’s central bank and monetary authority. In 1927 he outlawed labor strikes and banned the Communist Party of Mexico (PCM), surprising accomplishments for a hard-core “Marxist”; in point of fact the Mexican Left found Calles insufferable, and openly despised him.

The stance of muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros is an example of Mexican Left opinion regarding President Calles. (Siqueiros was a Marxist and a lifelong member of the PCM). In 1929 Siqueiros referred to Calles as having brought about “the complete submission of the Mexican government to Yankee imperialism, betraying the revolution.” In his 1932 mural Retrato del Mexico de hoy:1932 (Portrait of Mexico Today:1932), Siqueiros painted Calles as a masked armed bandit that had robbed and murdered the Mexican people. In a 1934 article written for the New Masses, Siqueiros referred to Calles as a “demagogue-hangman”, the “strong man” of the Mexican “bourgeoisie who were in league with imperialism.”

The majority of reviewers of For Greater Glory admit knowing nothing about the Cristero War, but rather than bringing clarity to a “little known” historic episode, the movie is instead a work of propaganda. Take the word “propaganda” as a pejorative if you wish, but in 1622 Pope Gregory XV established the Congregatio de propaganda fide (Congregation for propagating the faith), the arm of the Roman Catholic Church meant to foster Catholicism; the organization’s name is the root for the word “propaganda”.

"Professor Ildefonso Vargas, murdered in Cuahuigtic, Chignahuapam, Puebla on July 12, 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

"Professor Ildefonso Vargas, murdered in Cuahuigtic, Chignahuapam, Puebla on July 12, 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

I should mention that Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez hosted a red-carpet premiere of For Greater Glory at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, California. It was reported that after the film’s screening the audience burst out with chants of the old Cristero slogan, “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long Live Christ the King!)

The producer of For Greater Glory, Pablo José Barroso, is the founder of Dos Corazones Films, which describes itself as “part of a ministry that produces films to convey messages of faith and family values.”

The film was also partially financed by the Catholic Knights of Columbus (KofC). According to their website, the organization was brought “together by the ideal of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the Americas, the one whose hand brought Christianity to the New World.” KofC defines the organization as limited to “men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See.”

"Massacre of peasants and teachers in San Felipe Torres Mochas, Guanajuato." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

"Massacre of peasants and teachers in San Felipe Torres Mochas, Guanajuato." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

None of the above is an argument that the Catholic Church cannot deliver a well produced, historically accurate movie.

In 1989 the Church financed the making of Romero, a dramatic film starring Raúl Juliá that was based on the life of Óscar Arnulfo Romero, El Salvador’s Archbishop of San Salvador.

Romero was assassinated by a right-wing death squad while giving mass in a small chapel. In their zeal to defeat a communist insurgency, the U.S. backed Salvadoran right-wing slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including a number of Catholic nuns and priests, the highest profile victim being Romero.

Director John Duigan, with Church backing, gave an honest and straightforward account of this deplorable moment in El Salvador’s history. Clearly, two different groupings within the Catholic community delivered films with opposing points of view.

I first learned of the Cristeros as a teenager when studying the Mexican Muralist Movement of the 1930s; many of those artists had first-hand encounters with the country’s armed Catholic extremists. In 1939 Leopoldo Méndez received a commission from the Ministry of Public Education for artworks in support of the government’s position that all Mexicans receive a free “socialist education”. Méndez produced a stunning portfolio of seven lithographs (shown in this article), which were then reproduced and distributed by the Cárdenas government to combat religious fanaticism. Based on newspaper reports of known assassinations, the lithographs depicted seven different educators murdered by Cristeros.

For the most part Méndez treated his subjects in a journalistic manner; a teacher lynched from a tree or hacked up with machetes wielded by Cristeros. The title of each lithograph included the exact date and place of the assassination. The prints have a “Goyaesque” feeling about them. However, one particular lithograph stands out for its surreal qualities - Professor Juan Martinez Escobar, killed in the presence of his students in Acámbaro, Guanajuato in June 1938.

"Professor Juan Martinez Escobar, killed in the presence of his students in Acámbaro, Guanajuato in June 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

"Professor Juan Martinez Escobar, killed in the presence of his students in Acámbaro, Guanajuato in June 1938." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the artist's portfolio of prints, "In The Name Of Christ".

The print Professor Juan Martinez Escobar portrays the martyred educator as a ghost that points an accusatory finger at his assassin.

Escobar is dressed in the hat and overalls that identify a worker, driving home the artist’s message that laborers, teachers, and compesinos are united against violent religious fundamentalism.

Behind Escobar are the spirits of others killed by Cristeros; their eyes staring in condemnation from beyond the grave. Most amazing of all is the depiction of the killer, he wears a mask of Christ the Savior but he has blood on his hands. He pretends to be a Christian but is nothing more than an angry little man clutching a large bloody knife.

American artists in Mexico also witnessed first hand the terror of the Cristeros. Author Susan Vogel documented these facts in her fascinating and well researched book, Becoming Pablo O’ Higgins: How an Anglo-American Artist From Utah Became A Mexican Muralist. To my knowledge, Vogel’s book is the only volume to have been written about the life and times of the radical American painter and printmaker Pablo O’ Higgins, who played a major role in the Mexican Muralist Movement.

In describing encounters O’Higgins had with the Cristeros, Vogel gave a useful description of the Cristero War; (….) “On July 31, 1926, all churches in Mexico closed and most nuns and priests left the country. Those who stayed rallied bands of devout followers, including many campesinos, who roved the countryside in packs ambushing and killing any government employees they could find, including schoolteachers.”

Vogel also quoted Mexican author Marcela Neymet, citing her work, Chronology of the Mexican Communist Party: 1919-1939. According to Neymet; “The Catholic guerrillas burned down the new government schools, murdered teachers, and covered their bodies with crude banners marked VCR (for their battle cry ‘Viva Cristo Rey!’). In April, 1927 the Cristeros dynamited a Mexico City-Guadalajara train, killing over a hundred innocent civilians. Not to be outdone, the government troops tried to kill a priest for every dead teacher.”

Vogel mentioned how the young painter Ione Robinson (1910-1989) first entered Mexico: “When eighteen-year-old Ione Robinson attempted to travel by train from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City in June 1929, U.S. border officials discouraged her from entering the country because of the violence of the Cristeros. She learned that the rebels had control of Northern Mexico and that, although the shooting had ended, the train tracks to the capital had been blown up in places.”

"Professor Arnulf Sosa Portillo, killed April 4, 1937, in San Andrés Xochimilca, Puebla." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

"Professor Arnulf Sosa Portillo, killed April 4, 1937, in San Andrés Xochimilca, Puebla." - Leopoldo Méndez. Lithograph. 1938. From the "In The Name Of Christ" portfolio.

A talented artist, Ms. Robinson eventually made her way to Mexico City in 1929 to help assist Diego Rivera paint his mural works at the National Palace.

In 1946 Robinson wrote her memoirs, A Wall to Paint On, in which she described meeting and working with Rivera, Frieda Kahlo, Tina Modotti, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Charlot, and other luminaries.

She also became fast friends with David Alfaro Siqueiros, who famously painted a portrait of the young Robinson at his Taxco studio in 1932.

The Cristero rebellion was a hot topic in Mexican artistic circles, since for some time the arts community had been under pressure from violent Catholic fundamentalists.

José Vasconcelos was the visionary Minister of Education in the government of Álvaro Obregón (the president assassinated by a Cristero fanatic before he could take office for the second time). Starting in 1923 Vasconcelos commissioned the first government sponsored murals that helped ignite the Mexican Muralist Movement; a series of murals depicting Mexican history on the walls of the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. Vasconcelos contracted artists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, Fermín Revueltas, Ramón Alba de la Canal, Luis Escobar, Xavier Guerrero, Carlos Merida, Amado de la Cueva, Fernando Leal, García Cahero, and Jean Charlot for the project.

When first beginning their murals at the National Preparatory School, the artists’ works were allegorical, but in a short time they moved towards direct political narratives; Siqueiros painted The Burial of the Martyred Worker, a scene depicting the funeral of a worker slain by hired guns of the rich, the coffin decorated with a hammer and sickle. Orozco painted some of his most brilliant and controversial murals; Destruction of the Old Order, The Trench, and Christ Destroys His Cross. Perhaps it was the latter that drove the Catholic right-wing to violent action. Orozco’s Christ depicted an axe-wielding Savior come back to earth to destroy the crucifix as a symbol of authority. Fanatical Catholic students soon began harassing and threatening the muralists to the degree that the artists began carrying revolvers to protect themselves. Diego Rivera famously quipped that he carried a revolver strapped to his waist in order to “orientate the critics.”

The American painter and one time assistant to Siqueiros, Philip Stein, wrote about the turmoil at the National Preparatory School in his book, Siqueiros: His Life and Works. Stein described:

“Incited by reactionary professors, fanatically religious students kept up their attempts to destroy the ‘blasphemous’ murals. Working on their murals became dangerous for the painters, and in self defense they carried revolvers. Siqueiros, painting an isolated area far from the main patio, was a principle target. When a band of more than sixty students, shooting missiles through blowguns, leveled an attack against his mural, he defended himself by firing his .45 pistol over the heads of the student mob. The loud reports reached the far-off patio alerting the thirty-odd artists to rush to the aid of the lone embattled painter. From another direction, the sculptor Ignacio Asúnsolo, his gun blazing, led a force of stonemasons against the enemy students.

A student was reported shot in the cheek, but the rioting did not end until a battalion of Yaqui Indians - soldiers of the Revolution who were camped in the patio of the nearby National Law School - arrived on the scene. When notified that the murals of the Revolution were under attack, the Yaquis had rapidly marched off to the Preparatoria and placed themselves under the command of the ex-officers, now artists. They drove off the students, and order was restored, but the damage inflicted on the murals was considerable.”

Ione Robinson meet Pablo O’ Higgins through Rivera. O’Higgins had been an assistant to Rivera since 1924. In her book, Vogel gives an account of O’Higgins doing cultural work with the Tepehuano Indians in Mexico’s Western coastline state of Nayarit in 1927. After the indigenous village was attacked by armed Cristeros, the Tepehuanos fled for their lives to neighboring Durango State with their casualties. In Durango, O’Higgins saved a wounded Tepehuano boy by removing a Cristero bullet from the child’s leg. When the Tepehuanos asked O’Higgins what they could do to thank him, the artist gave the indigenous people sheets of paper and asked them to create drawings for him. According to Vogel, “upon his return to Mexico City, Pablo presented the drawings to the government because he believed they belonged in a museum where everyone would be able to see them.”

Well acquainted with the chronicles of Mexico’s history, I am annoyed by the simplistic telling of the Cristero War as portrayed in For Greater Glory. The history of a nation is always an incredibly complex affair; if there is a country other than Mexico with a more byzantine record of historic characters and events, one would be hard pressed to name it.

Keeping that in mind, Hollywood rarely, if ever, manages to produce films that accurately portray the twists and turns of historic events; especially so today with current U.S. cinema having been reduced to an endless run of mindless, computer generated, big-budget comic book spectacles. As the film industry targets the “Hispanic market” with works providing little insight into Mexican culture and history - movies like Dean Wright’s For Greater Glory, Julie Taymor’s 2002 Frida, and Oliver Stone’s 2012 Savages - it is vital to maintain a critical view of Hollywood productions.

This treatise only begins to scratch the surface of the Cristero War and the social forces that either gave rise to it or opposed it. Mexico’s greatest artists left a clear record in opposition to violent religious extremism; I encourage readers of this article to do further research.

¡Shifra Goldman - Presente!

 Shifra Goldman in her library. Photographer unknown.

Shifra Goldman in her library. Photographer unknown.

Visionary social art historian Dr. Shifra M. Goldman died on the afternoon of September 11, 2011. She was an arts advocate, activist, researcher, critic, and author who dedicated her considerable energy and intellectual prowess in advancing an understanding of Chicano, Mexican, and Latin American art. I learned much from her extensive writings, and over the years I was privileged to meet with her on several occasions, encounters that always resulted in the liveliest conversations pertaining to socially conscious art and the role of the artist in society.

I was fortunate to first meet Shifra at an exhibition of political art I curated in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics. One controversial Mexican woodcut print I had on display was not signed or otherwise identified; I had no idea who had created the artwork, so I credited it in the exhibit, as well as on the flyer announcement for the show, as having been created by an “anonymous artist” (that flyer is now in the museum exhibit, Peace Press Graphics). One day Shifra attended my ‘84 Olympics exhibit, noticed the “anonymous” print, and proceeded to give me an hour-long intensive lecture on the life and times of Adolfo Mexiac (Meh-she-ack), the artist who in 1954 created the original woodcut print. This initial encounter with Shifra left me with a lasting impression of her towering intellect and profound enthusiasm for the arts.

Shifra’s acquired knowledge and expertise in her field was truly encyclopedic, but she was also a passionate advocate for the art she was so well versed in. I recall a conversation we had in 2002 concerning Frida Kahlo, the discussion taking place when the Frida Kahlo movie starring Salma Hayek was playing in U.S. movie houses. The film’s popularity resulted in Shifra suddenly becoming inundated with inquiries about Kahlo, and she told me, “I am sick of hearing about Frida Kahlo!” She had a substantive complaint; while Kahlo was transformed into a celebrity pop idol of sorts, her contemporaries, the remarkable Mexican women artists that worked in the same time frame, have all but been forgotten outside of small artistic circles in Mexico.

It was Shifra who told me about Aurora Reyes Flores, the first Mexican woman to paint a mural; Shifra instructed me regarding the works of Celia Calderón, Elena Huerta, Rina Lazo, Sarah Jimenez, Isabel Villaseñor, and a host of other incredible artists who have virtually no name recognition in the U.S. That was Shifra Goldman… ceaselessly excavating around the periphery, forever discovering hidden riches, and tirelessly sharing her treasure trove of findings with the world. Her passing is an irrevocable loss for us all, but she left her beloved community fortunes beyond imagination - the wisdom to be found in her scholarly books and articles. As long as there are people who read Shifra’s studious works, her spirit will be with us.

[The following obituary for Shifra was written by Carol A. Wells, the founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, using information from an unpublished interview with Shifra Goldman done in 1992, material from the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, and information provided by Yreina Cervantez, Kathy Gallegos, Sybil Venegas, and Shifra’s son and daughter-in-law Eric Garcia and Trisha Dexter].

“I was never in the mainstream, never in all my life. I was born on the margins, lived on the margins, and have always sympathized with the margins. They make a lot more sense to me than the mainstream.” - Shifra M. Goldman, September 1992

Shifra Goldman (1926-2011), a pioneer in the study of Latin American and Chicana/o Art, and a social art historian, died in Los Angeles on September 11, 2011, from Alzheimer’s disease. She was 85. Professor Goldman taught art history in the Los Angeles area for over 20 years. She was a prolific writer and an activist for Chicana/o and Latino Art. In Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin America and the United States, one of her award winning publications, she stated that part of her life’s work was to “deflect and correct the stereotypes, distortions, and Eurocentric misunderstandings that have plagued all serious approaches to Latino Art history since the 50s.”

Born and raised in New York by Russian immigrant parents, art and politics were central to her entire life. Goldman’s mother was a political activist and her father, a trade unionist. She attended the High School of Music and Art in New York, and entered the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as a studio art major when her family moved to Los Angeles in the 1940’s. As an undergraduate, she was active in the student boycott against the barbers in Westwood who refused to cut the hair of the Black Veterans entering UCLA on the GI bill following the Second World War.

After leaving UCLA, she went to work with Bert Corona and the Civil Rights Congress, a national organization working to stop police brutality against African and Mexican Americans, and the deportations of Mexicans and foreign born political activists. Living in East Los Angeles, Goldman learned Spanish and became immersed in Mexican and Chicana/o culture. In the 1950’s, during the repression of the Cold War, Goldman was subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Two decades later, she lost her first college teaching job because a background check revealed that she had been called before HUAC.

In the 1960’s, after supporting herself and her son, Eric, as a bookkeeper for fifteen years, Goldman returned to UCLA to complete her B.A. in art. After receiving her M.A. in art history from California State University, Los Angeles (CSLA), she entered the Ph.D program at UCLA where she ran headlong into Eurocentrism when she was unable to find a chair for her doctoral committee because her topic of choice was modern Mexican art. Goldman refused to choose a more mainstream topic, and waited several years until a new faculty member finally agreed to work with her. Her dissertation was published as Contemporary Mexican Painting in a Time of Change by University of Texas Press in 1981, and republished in Mexico in 1989.  She also initiated and co-authored the bibliography and theoretical essay, Arte Chicano: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of Chicano Art, 1965-1981 (1985) with Dr.Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.

Professor Goldman taught her first class in Mexican Art in 1966, possibly the only one given at that time in all of California. She later went on to a full time teaching position in art history at Santa Ana College where she taught courses in Mexican Pre-Colombian, Modern and Chicano Art for 21 years. She was one of the organizers for the Vietnam Peace Tower in 1966. Goldman also co-founded the Los Angeles chapter of Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America, in 1983, and was instrumental in bringing solidarity with the Central American struggle to the Los Angeles community.

In 1968, she began the campaign to preserve the 1932 Siqueiros mural in Olvera Street, and in 1971 approached Siqueiros for a new mural derived from the original. According to the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA), he agreed but the plan was thwarted by the artist’s death in 1974. His last mural in Los Angeles, Portrait of Mexico Today, 1932, was restored and moved to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California with Goldman’s advice and assistance.

Goldman has published and lectured in Europe, Latin America and the United States. In 1994 she became a Research Associate with the Latin American Center at UCLA and taught art history there. Goldman is also Professor Emeritus from Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, CA. In February 1992, she received the College Art Association’s (CAA) Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism and, in February 1993, an award from the Women’s Caucus for Art for outstanding achievement in the visual arts. She was elected to the board of the CAA, 1995-1999. In 1996 she received the “Historian of the Lions” award from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.

The Shifra Goldman Papers, including her slides, books, and videos are part of the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her extensive Chicano poster and print collection is at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. She will be remembered for her important contributions to Latin American Art scholarship and for her seminal work in Chicano/a Art History and support of the Chicano/a art community.

Professor Goldman is survived by her son Eric Garcia, daughter-in-law Trisha Dexter, and grandson Ian of Los Angeles.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Avenue 50 Studio [], Center for the Study of Political Graphics [] and/or Tropico de Nopal []. A memorial for Ms. Goldman will be held at 2 p.m. on October 15 at the Professional Musicians Local 47, 817 Vine St., Hollywood, CA 90038.