The Glam Politics of a Chicano Collective from East L.A.

Last weekend, in Los Angeles, as in many other cities across the United States, protesters marched in support of DACA and against a border wall. This week, the art world picked up where they left off. Eighty shows have opened at seventy institutions across Los Angeles (not counting the scores of gallery shows and performances) as part of “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.” The second “LA” is short for Latino: the focus of the gargantuan undertaking is the art of Latin America, and the city’s relationship to its Latino and Chicano communities. If you’re in New York, you can counter your FOMO with a small but galvanizing exhibition of photographs at the Marlborough Gallery, “Harry Gamboa, Jr.: the Asco Years.”

You could mistake the picture reproduced above, “First Supper (After a Major Riot),” for a film still, an antic remake of Luis Buñuel’s “Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” styled with an eye on Mexico’s Day of the Dead. That’s not too far off the mark. A few years before Cindy Sherman began playing the dual role of movie star and auteur in her photographs, the Chicano collective Asco, from East L.A., was staging lavish (if cheap to make) scenes for Gamboa, Jr.,’s camera. They called the results “No Movies.” (The other members of the group, which disbanded in 1987, were Patssi Valdez,


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