SAN ANTONIO, TX.-
In September 2012, the McNay
opened Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection, the most comprehensive survey of the contributions of Latino artists of post-1960 American printmaking to date. Organized by the McNay Art Museum, the exhibition chronicles the late 1960s at the outset of the Chicano Movement to the confident expressions of the 2000s. Estampas de la Raza introduces recent gifts to the McNay from San Antonio collectors Harriett and Ricardo Romo. More than 60 prints by 44 artists reveal the richness of a mixed cultural heritage, with depictions of Frida Kahlo, lowriders, a quiceañera, the Statue of Liberty, tattoos, and the Virgin of Guadalupe.
"Estampas de la Raza is a celebration of the achievements of Latino printmakers, their rich and vibrant culture, and the incredible generosity of Harriett and Ricardo Romo," stated Lyle Williams, exhibition curator and McNay Curator of Prints and Drawings. "Thanks to them, we are all able to enjoy these great works of art that chronicle the Latino experience in the U.S."
Organized thematically in five sections, the exhibition focuses on aspects of the Latino experience in the United States: the identity of individuals striving to define themselves; the Chicano Movement's struggle to achieve economic, political, and personal equality; tradition, memory, and culture in the everyday lives of Latinos; icons that represent guideposts or social and political causes; and other voices revealing the complex and ever-changing directions Latinos choose. Many images are larger than life, serving up a colorful, visual feast.
Harriett and Ricardo Romo began acquiring art while teaching in Southern California at the height of the Chicano Movement. As educators, they saw collecting as a means of supporting the artists as well as the movement's goal of equal educational opportunity in Los Angeles's school system. Intensely involved with Self Help Graphics & Art, a nexus of Chicano culture in East LA, the Romos bought many prints from the renowned collaborative print shop. After their return to Texas, they continued supporting Latino artists and became patrons of another highly important print shop, Coronado Studio in Austin.
In 2008--nine years after Ricardo Romo accepted the position of President of the University of Texas at San Antonio and Harriet Romo became a faculty member in UTSA's Department of Sociology--the San Antonio collectors began giving contemporary prints to the McNay Art Museum. Their gifts now constitute one of the largest donations in the history of the McNay's print collection, at present totaling 200 works that survey the best Chicano and Latino prints produced in Southern California and Texas in the last four decades. This exhibition celebrates the Romos' generosity and the unique character, diversity, and richness these images bring to the museum's American print collection.
"We are extremely excited about the exhibit," stated Ricardo and Harriet Romo. "We have been collecting the work of Mexican American and Chicano artists since we were first married in 1967. It will be really fun to see Estampas de la Raza. We are pleased to make others aware of the exciting work of these artists."