Chicano art collective Asco makes the cover of Artforum. Very badass.
Inside the mag is a must-read discussion of Los Angeles art, the scene, the work, the history, and, suprisingly, critiques of L.A.'s sometimes Anti-Mexican sentiment as well as a reference to the killing of Ruben Salazar by LA County Sheriff Deputies in 1970. What tha--?!
Now how did a mention of the Chicano Moritorium make it in an art conversation about “center/periphery” and the "conceptual grasp of the mass entertainment"? Because one of the roundtable contributors was Acso co-founder Harry Gamboa Jr., who can throw down and contextualize with the best of them:
The term radical was an official governmental epithet under COINTELPRO that effectively neutralized dissent and creative acts during the ’60s and ’70s and into the ’80s. My late-twentieth-century experiences with Asco in East LA were in the eye of that storm. Performing in the streets was interspersed with threats of official violence and other punitive actions.
Decoy Gang War Victim is an Asco image that I photographed in 1974. It shows a young man stretched out, seemingly lifeless, across an East LA street lighted by road flares emitting reddish sparks and by the bluish hue of mercury vapor lamps. The resulting 35-mm color slide was delivered to various local TV stations and accompanied by the notice that the “last gang member” had been killed, thereby ending violence in the barrio. The image was televised by at least two TV stations. The project was a response to the incendiary tabloid-style journalism of the two major Los Angeles newspapers, which often listed the names, addresses, workplaces, and gang affiliations of victims or their family members in an effort to maintain high levels of reciprocal gang violence, thus selling more newspapers. The desired effect of Decoy Gang War Victim was to generate a pause in the violence in order to rob the newspapers of their daily list of victims.
Art and politics and Chicano. Cheeky, que no?