¡Printing the Revolution! examines how graphic arts have been utilized to build community, engage the public around social concerns, and wrestle with shifting notions of the term “Chicano,” which Mexican Americans defiantly adopted in the 1960s and 1970s as a sign of a new political and cultural identity. During this period, Chicano activist artists forged a remarkable movement of politically engaged printmaking rooted in cultural expression and social justice movements that remains vital today. This exhibition, for the first time, pairs historical civil rights-era prints alongside works from the 1980s to the present.
The exhibition includes 119 works ranging from traditional screen prints to digital graphics and augmented reality works, to site-specific installations by more than 74 artists of Mexican descent and their cross-cultural collaborators. Through the decades, inexpensive and easily distributed posters, often marked by vibrant colors and striking images, have communicated the prevailing social causes of their day—labor strikes, immigrant rights, opposition to the Vietnam War, cultural events—and, most significantly, have challenged the invisibility of Chicanos in US society. By highlighting previously marginalized voices from Chicano art, including women and LGBTQ+ individuals, the exhibition offers an expanded view of American art and the history of graphic arts.
¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Presented in part by