Sunday, June 18, 2017

Course Reflection, Blog post #10

I initially selected this course as an option for my third class, and ended up getting both options for my third class (which ironically was taught by Alma's partner Alicia) which means I had 4 classes. I figured, if I didn't like one or thought having 4 was too much, I could drop it but this would not happen even though I felt like I had more on my plate than I could handle because I was hooked. I hadn't touched art or paint or anything in so long. My life goal and plan is to be a designer and I put my dreams aside to get a "normal degree" first. It came at a time when I considered dropping out because I didn't love what I was doing or know what I wanted anymore. I'm so glad it did. 

Initially, I was a little biased in that I was already wanting to like profé for being from Culiácan also. But the class focus on censorship intrigued me, and upon discovering that the class was cross-listed as LGBTQ studies, which I didn't know was a minor, I was even more hooked. 
Aside from the academics and course subject the thing I will take most with me from this experience was learning that others at UCLA like I, had suffered sexual violence. I knew that there existed people like me but not in so many numbers and in one of the classes that I happened to be enrolled in. I salute everyone who shared their stories during presentations because I never could, and slowly I hope that I can be as brave as they showed themselves that day.

The black experience, blog post #9

The portion of the black experience I would like to focus on is the one in my selfie with the graphic in the shape of the boat. I could be off, but I believe it is meant to illustrate the way that slaves were carried over on ships with an emphasis on efficiency rather than human life

 The reason I chose that portion was because that is how the black experience can be, and it is true for any marginalized group. They are treated as nonhumans or second class citizens. Their work is invalidated and their rights are stripped. In today's age we can say we have equality in the eyes of the law but the execution of such (again the irony in word usage) is quiet another. Innocent brown bodies are slain by police officers, the majority of the impoverished and imprisoned population are minorities, and this is no coincidence. Extra policing, pay gaps, property redlining, racism, exclusion from entry all play a role in how inequality is maintained. We should remember the horrible way african people were brought over. We should remember it in the same way we have 9/11 every year when we mourn the loss of life. We historically have been terrorist, why aren't we seeing it? #censorship

Charlie Hebdo, Blog post #8

This blog post I struggle to write because I never want to make an excuse for terrorism but I think that while although the intent of this magazine is good, the result could still be considered offensive and leaving things as being vague is problematic even if it sells more magazines. The Charlie Hebdo tragedy has no excuse and no one's lives should be taken no matter what they say, or how offensive it is. They did however, provoke certain groups in their artwork and were overall insensitive to issues they knew were easily triggered. The claims that a lot of people made was that the magazine criticized every aspect of french life from religion to politics and did so on both sides seemingly unbiased. This however is not a valid excuse in my opinion, and I would agree with the movement "je ne suis pas charlie". I don't think its acceptable to use that kind of media approach even if it starts conversation, because it leaves people on the wrong side of it feeling justified that its okay to perpetuate these ideas and sentiments when it very clearly portrays people or groups of people in a negative way. I believe theres other ways of going about starting conversations that don't provoke people to have angered reactions as oppose to impassioned responses.

Renée Cox "You mama's last supper", Blog post #7

I want to start off by saying that I loveeeeee this piece.

Renée cox is an artist/photographer that uses her work as a form of activism to empower minorities more specifically african-american populations who are underrepresented in art and marginalized in the social world. The artwork that proved to be most controversial was her depiction of the last supper as a table full of african-american people as oppose to white with herself in the nude form as christ in the center. Her reasoning was that at one point a religious official told her that god was within her at all points regardless of her affiliation with the church-run institution, she took this to mean that If god was within her, god could be a black woman just as she is. I think that racial (and by racial, I mean racism) undertones are why some people were offended which should not be the case. One area where I could see valid criticism was that she was nude, which could be seen as a sort of fetishizing of the last supper. I think had she been clothed there would have still been controversy, but additionally if she had been clothed there would be no doubt that it would be because of sexism and racism in societal tenants. I love her idea that every woman and everyone could be god, and that is more about the principle of the idea than the recognizable iconography. I think a lot of her work is provoking but in the right way, we should be asking why we think some of these images seem "out of the ordinary" and not typical images. We should actively be aware of the representation of some groups versus others and how they are in relation to the size of those populations in real life

Debate/ Sally Mann + Marian Rubin, Blog post #6

How young is too young and how young is too old?

When discussing Sally Mann's work the two main arguments you will hear as according to popularity opposingly are that there is a freedom of speech and that child pornography is illegal (and for good reason) . Both arguments are valid but as the points made in my group's presentation were clearly leading up to is that these young children could not give consent in its truest form because they yet to have had to hold jobs or understand what it means to have a reputation to uphold. They also can't fully grasp that they can never undo their actions, especially in the age of internet and how quickly things are reproduced. The children could say that they give consent, but if we as a society consider them unfit to raise themselves, drive, vote, sign college admission papers, or even sign their own gradeschool field trip permission slips.... how do we expect them to sign off on releasing their nude bodies? There's also a large conflict of interest with the photographer being the parent that could give consent for them, because they can also influence the development of the child and socialize them to be okay with something just to benefit their own interest. The risk that this poses to small defenseless children is no price to pay.

Marian Rubin story should be proof enough that if one grown mother can grow to regret the actions she did and how it will affect her kids in the future, how can we give the same power to children themselves or the a conflicting party such as the photographer?

Andres Serrano, Blog post #5

Andres Serrano

Andres Serrano is as we all know an artist that works with many different mediums, he became popular when photographed an image of a crucifix immersed in a liquid that had a yellow/orange tinge. The artist reports that is was his own urine that gave the liquid this quality, it sent conservative and religious groups ablaze (well isn't that an ironic metaphor) because they felt that his work was disrespectful to the image of god and shouldn't be shown they considered it to be hate speech. The image was entitled "Piss christ" lending the controversy that it was a disrespectful image. I could understand why people are upset because "pissing on something" is a figurative expression that means to taint its image or to discredit or lower status by urinating on it, but I ask: how did this come to be? Why is that we as a society consider kissing and hugging affectionate but peeing on, as repulsive and degrading? Im not advocating for a fetish here, but there are people who despite this socialization have grown to like it.

Censoring Culture, Blog post #4

A quote that stood out to me in Censoring culture was "Self-censorship works best when it is imperceptible - not only to outsiders, but to its very perpetrator.” (Atkins, Mintcheva, 302).

This plays on the idea of hegemony that is talked about in lengths in Chicano studies classes and something I also learned in sociology when discussing race that didn't have a name per-say but basically meant that by reducing race to an illusion that people see, it benefits those in power and their privilege blinds them from seeing how race is a lot more than an "illusion". A popular metaphor is that of a restaurant "open/closed" sign. The people inside (the privileged) see the restaurant with themselves and others in it and see the sign on door that reads "open". What they don't realize is that the other side of the sign reads closed, and those outside see the people inside enjoying their food and wish they could be as well.

Long-winded example aside. hegemony is the blasting of knowledge that normalizes it so that it seems like common sense to everyone. One something has been established as common sense, it stop being contested which would allude to the "but its very perpetrator" portion of the quote. In this context, we've become so socialized to what we should and should not do in social settings, we live in a constant state of editing, not asking the questions we want to ask. Not hearing the answers we are curious about. Lastly, not creating the art we have within us 

Our Lady of Controversy, Blog post #3

I chose a rather basic quote, but I feel that the sentiment behind it is what stands out the most to me.

On page 85, when describing the selection process for the book, she denotes that she looked for Chicanx artists who "reshape and recast" the virgin into something they can relate to. I found the notion particularly interesting because growing up culturally catholic I too saw these symbols, and with great repetition. I never once considered that I could change them. I never related to these figures, because I always understood them as holier than thou beings that were very separate entities to me, and I wonder if I had related them to my life experience, would I have adopted religion more easily? Would I have accepted these stories I heard as complete fabrications and heard truth?

Perception is a powerful thing. I think still I wouldn't be able to see these religious characters this way, because they are stories that don't exactly scream character development. Maybe if like profe Alma I substituted myself into the narrative and imagined what I would do/look like. I think that would be fun as a sort of role play

Self Help Graphics project empowers day laborers through art, Blog post #2

So, This article begins with describing the current project that the community arts center, Self help graphics is putting on entitled "JornARTleros" where they will partner with other organizations to bring art classes to day laborers as a form of empowerment. The goal is to inspire creativity and potentially help these otherwise overlooked workers form better marketing that could boost their business. However this is the first year that Self Help Graphics is putting this on, it is a pilot run. If successful they will put on an exhibition, but it wouldn't be possible without the NEA's funding.

I find this article interesting for a couple reasons:

1. The focus on day-laborers.
 There are not many programs or policies that go to help out day-laborers. These are the people I see everyday sometimes. On the street, at the swap-meet, on free-way exits. My mom who grew up with an undocumented mother and 7 brothers and sisters with no father, always made it a point to buy from and support these laborers. From a young age, she taught me that these people were making a living the way they knew how, a form of hustling. Just because it was different from the way that regular society considers industrious activity to be, there was no shame in their game. 
2. The art to help them in marketing
As a future design/fashion marketing student I LOVE THIS. I could think of a million ideas that I would a paletero man or fruta con chile guy to do with his cart to make it appeal to millennials and non-latinos alike. I feel like this connection of younger artistic minds with the wisdom of these laborers makes for a dynamite combination, I would be totally in.
3. The stressing that art is important, and has practical uses.
Too often I think that art is written off as something impractical and flowery. It undercuts its importance and creates a hierarchy of what society considers valuable, but what about the individual? Art is important to a lot of people. It's important to me. These things aren't taken into consideration when people discount public funding like that of the NEA.

About me, Blog post #1

Hello all,

Well maybe you've learned something about me during the course of this class and maybe you haven't. Either way, here goes

I am a second ye- no. I'm not starting there, thats too basic. What could I tell you that you couldn't find out by yourself? Well for starters you'll find that I'm bit of a different breed. I'm isolated, yet social. I'm extroverted yet coy. It could be because I was raised like an only child even though I have a sibling, or because of the life I've lived. Sometimes I think I've lived enough for two lifetimes. From sexual abuse, to losing my father and struggling with a queer identity. Being estranged from my family to feeling on my own- to almost committing suicide myself. I've lived a lot. But i've learned so much, things that while although the learning experience was traumatic, I couldn't see myself living without. But aside from the hardship, which I do find to be a defining characteristic, who am I?

A design loving self sufficient, sassy, S.O.B. And despite that all, sometimes rather conservative, maybe even traditional. I feel disconnected to my culture and some of things that people my age know about the world only having one parent (and barely that at all). On the flip-side I feel I've learned about the world in my own way, without strong forms of interference. I think I'm more socially aware than most people I meet, and for not really having a supportive parent or others looking out for me, I feel as though I've come to expect things out of myself. Because no one else will. It's a blessing and a curse. I'll let you know how it goes.


Friday, June 16, 2017


I have really enjoyed taking this course. I want to thank Alma Lopez for being an amazing professor and human being. She has been inspirational, a true example to the UCLA community and beyond. What has inspired me about our professor is her boldness, her authenticity, and passion for the arts and her students. I really admire how our professor has stayed true to herself in the midst of controversy. She has impacted the art community with her original ideas; and she has also impacted her students in the classroom, challenging them to consider the boundaries (if there are, or should be any) of art more closely. After this course, I am more convinced than ever that censorship is inconvenient because it is not progressive. Censorship avoids tough conversations, while freedom of expression, though controversial inspired important dialogues.
Lastly, when I first signed up for this course, I was not aware that we would be painting. And when I realized we would be required to produce two paintings I became very excited. The reason was because I really enjoy painting, and having the opportunity to paint in class was very therapeutic. Moreover, even though I did have some experience painting, I learned a few things from the assigned art projects. What I learned when I was developing my controversial art piece was that just like when writing an essay, it’s important to communicate ideas clearly in a painting. But because a in painting ideas are symbolic, they can often be difficult to communicate Because sometimes symbols are interpreted incorrectly, but that’s why when planning a controversial art piece, it is important to be as clear as possible.

EC: Mirame! Exhibit

Today, I had the opportunity to go visit La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, which is a Mexican-American museum and cultural center. As a museum fanatic, I was really excited to visit this one as it talks about and shows the historical background of my people. The first exhibition I noticed was Professor Alma Lopez. When she had mentioned how people attempted to censor her work, I thought she meant within the United States and never knew about Ireland's attempt to censor her art. I liked how her mini biography description called her a Digital Diva for standing by her work, no matter the controversy. Also, I like how there were pamphlets (glossary) that explain all the different sexualities and their definitions for those who may have no been aware.

Apart from the exhibit, I liked a display that include varies bottles of Tapatiwith a female image. Another I liked had Pachucos suits on display and talked about Zoot suit. The final one I enjoyed was a school related one that include desks and talked about how Spanish-speaking children were segregated into "Mexican rooms" or different schools.

Overall, I would definitely recommend people to visit here, because it's an eye-opening experience for those who do not know the history and experiences of Mexicans and Latinos overall.


EC: America Tropical Mural

After our discussion in class, I decided to go see the Siquieros mural in person. I went with my brother and explained to him what I had learn and how this mural had been whitewashed, but still survived. I will admit it was a bit faded and the sun did not help when I attempted to take a photograph of the mural, but enjoyed the experience nonetheless. After, I went to the first floor to view the smaller version that explains the meaning of every detail included in the mural. Safe to say my brother and I enjoyed it. Also, he learned more about things I had already heard about in lecture. The mural inside had a blue light that would highlight each specific detail individually, so the viewers could read about why that part was include. Overall, the mural was to create a revolutionary message through art and I find this very admirable. I'm glad it continues to exist, because I feel like its an important landmark for the area it is located in. Side note: I also liked the work that was displayed going up the stairs (the human in the corn).

EC: Reflection

On the first day of class, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea this was an art class and that we would be painting. I thought this was a theory based class with no painting portion to it. I was incredibly surprised on the first day of class when the professor told us that we would be painting self-portraits and needed art supplies. My brain was overwhelmed on that first day because I am not artistically blessed whatsoever. I had never before painted and I can’t draw to save my life.  I was very nervous when I found out about all the painting we’d be doing and the self-portraits. I was like “ahhh I’m going fail this class, I can’t paint”. However, I am so happy I stayed in the class because it was such a wholesome and fulfilling class. I love the way the class is designed where we paint while listening to lecture; it was so therapeutic. The content we learned in class on censorship was mind-blowing for me. I always believed art was so innocent, therefore I was shocked to learn about all of the censorship cases we did. There are so many factors at play and so many different forms of censorship that we don’t know are happening around us. Nowadays, I am a lot more aware and try to think critically about what is being hidden from me and how it is being done. My favorite days in class were the debates and the last two days when everyone opened up about their artwork.  Everyone was so passionate during the debates and I felt like I was watching a show. It was so intense!  I love and admire the candidacy of my classmates as they opened up about their “controversial” artwork. I was so touched by everyone’s presentations and at times teary eyed. Major kudos to our professor for fostering the kind of warm and welcoming environment that encouraged everyone to open up. As a science major, you don’t really get to experience much of a community in your classes like I did with this one. The vibe is very hostile. I am so glad I was able to experience this class and I have since been recommending it to all of my friends.

EC: America Tropical & La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

 On Thursday I went with all of my friends to Plazita Olvera for the very first time to decompress after finals. The first place we checked out was Siqueiro's "America Tropical" Mural. Siqueiro’s “America Tropical” mural depicts a Native American on a cross being crucified. The mural is a statement on oppression by American imperialism. The mural caused controversy in DTLA given that it is a booming business and finance center. As a result, it was covered with white paint (the irony). However, over the years justice prevailed naturally and the white paint began peeling off. Due to sun damage, the mural recently went through conservation and is now on display at the America Tropical. The mural was finished in 1932 and it is amazing to me that after so many years I have the privilege of viewing it. Having gone through so much damage, sun damage and white paint, since the 1930’s, I was shocked to see how well- conserved the mural was. I regard Los Angeles and California in general as a highly liberal bubble when compared to the South so I was very surprised to learn that such censorship once took place. Los Angeles was not always as liberal as it is today and the censorship and display of “America Tropical” is a testament to that.

After viewing the “America Tropical” exhibit, my friends and I
proceeded to going to the "Mirame!: Expressions of Queer Latinx Art" exhibit. This was my favorite part because as soon as I walked in I saw our Professor’s artwork on the walls by the entrance and I got so excited and told the museum employees “omg that’s my professor’s artwork!”. It felt like I knew a celebrity. It was so crazy to me seeing a lot of the art that we have learned about in class from our professor and other artists such as Joey Terrill live and in person. It was a surreal experience and has a different effect on you seeing the original art live and in print. I highly highly recommend everyone to check out the exhibit because it is jam packed with so much history on Chicanos/Chicanas, immigration, California, the Latinx LGBTQ community, etc. There was so much to see and take in. The exhibit and Plaza Olvera in general are so rich in culture.
Work by Joey Terrill, the artist speaker, that came to our class.

After the exhibits, my friends and I strolled through the rest of the beautiful Plaza Olvera. There are so many cute booths from which to buy from. We ended our day having tacos and beer at one of their little restaurants. Overall, we had a great time and highly recommend everyone to check out the exhibits. It is a great place to go spend the day with friends or a date.Thank you Professor for allowing this fun extra credit opportunity. I had a really fun time!

EC: The America Tropical Mural Interpretive Center

On June 9th I went to visit the America Tropical Mural Interpretive Center, located at the Placita Olvera. By the Placita Olvera was located David Alfaro Siqueiros’s América Tropical, which was restored by the Getty Conservation Institute and made available to the public in 2012. Siqueiros’s mural depicts a Mexican Indian crucified on a cross. Above this Mexican Indian is an American eagle, which represents the Unite States. The mural clearly describes how the United States has exploited Mexicans in the past. I thought the mural was interesting because it has a strong political message. I think that elites in the United States have tried to suppress the horrors of American history. We often celebrate democracy and freedom, but repress other details. Rarely do Americans acknowledge that this land was taken from Native American wrongfully. And I think that what Siqueiros is trying to do is remind us of the true American history. I like the mural, but I can understand how it can be controversial for some people to be reminded of the less glamorous side of American history. In addition, when I visited the America Tropical Mural Interpretive Center, I stumbled across a small museum at the interpretive center that caught my attention. The museum contained objects from how the Californianos lived before the United States defeated Mexico at the Alamo. The museum described how Mexicans in California lived, how they purchased their groceries, and the tools they used. I absolutely loved learning about how Mexicans lived in California when it still belonged to Mexico. Lastly, as my experience at the America Tropical Mural Interpretive Center relates to censorship, I am touched by how it’s necessary to have museums and murals in order to represent an accurate narrative of American history—because real American is unfortunately not part of the curricula in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

E/C Mirame!

I visited the Mirame! exhibit at the Los Angeles Plaza de Arte y Cultura. The exhibit was really interesting in seeing the way that a lot of Latinx and Chicanx people have not only struggled with being who they are but empowering themselves. One of my favorite pieces that I saw was a piece that had a bunch of bottles of hot sauce on the wall but had replaced the tapatio man with a woman which really reversed the gender roles not only of the image but also the maybe gendered connotation of spicy food. There was also a piece called "Los Hijos De Dona Rita" which I was also memorized in because all three of the men pictured are brothers and of the same family and pose together yet there is one that is expressing his queerness. The exhibit was really empowering to see and I am really glad that the pride movement has become more mainstream because it is allowing more queer people to be be themselves and not have to be labeled as an "other" and be themselves without the need to fill the norms of their sex or gender. On one of the walls in the exhibit, it asked for people to write a time they felt they were excluded, instead I saw supportive notes written that encouraged people to be themselves despite the prejudices. Seeing that on a wall meant to recount stories of not fitting in was uplifting to see.