Claims by Anglo American feminists and Chicanas/os for alternative space: The LA art scene in the political 1970s

  • Eva Zetterman University of Gothenburg


Abstract: Originating in the context of the Civil Rights Movements and political activities addressing issues of race, gender and sexuality, the Women’s Liberation movement and the Chicano Movement became departures for two significant counter art movements in Los Angeles in the 1970s. This article explores some of the various reasons why Anglo American feminist artists and Chicana artists were not able to fully collaborate in the 1970s, provides some possible explanations for their separation, and argues that the Eurocentric imperative in visual fine art was challenged already in the 1970s by Chicana/o artists in Los Angeles. In so doing, the art activism by Anglo American feminists and Chicanas/os is comparatively investigated with Los Angeles as the spatial framework and the 1970s as the time frame. Four main components are discussed: their respective political aims, alternative art spaces, pedagogical frameworks and aesthetic strategies. The study found that the art activisms by Anglo American feminists and Chicanas/os differed. These findings suggest that a task ahead is to open up a dialogue with Chicana/o activist art, making space for more diverse representations of activities and political issues, both on the mainstream art scene and in the history of art.

Author Biography

Eva Zetterman, University of Gothenburg
Eva Zetterman is Associate Professor in Art History and Visual Studies at University of Gothenburg. After earning her doctoral degree at the University of Gothenburg in 2003 with the dissertation <i>Frida Kahlos bildspråk – ansikte, kropp & landskap: Representation av nationell identitet</i> (Frida Kahlo’s Imagery – Face, Body & Landscape: Representation of National Identity), she has worked at Växjö University, Halmstad University College and Karlstad University. Among her recent published articles are “The PST project, Willie Herrón’s Street Mural Asco East of No West” (2011) and “the Mural Remix Tour: Power Relations on the Los Angeles Art Scene” in <i>Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research</i> (2014), “Crossing Visual Borders of Representation: Images of ‘Nordicness’ in a Global Context” in <i>Globalizing Art: Negotiating Place, Identity and Nation in Contemporary Nordic Art</i> (2011), and “Mellan nordisk profil och platsbunden identitet: Göteborgs konstmuseum” in <i>Representation och regionalitet: Genusstrukturer i fyra svenska konstmuseisamlingar, Kulturpolitisk forskning #3</i> (2011). Her main research areas are street art and Chicana/o visual culture.