The Autry Museum presents La Raza
This 13th posting presents the exhibition La Raza at the Autry Museum of the American West in Griffith Park, featuring the photographic archive of La Raza, the Los Angeles newspaper central to the Chicano Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. W. Richard West, Jr., President and CEO of the Autry announced: “It is especially momentous to present this photographic archive—one that continues to resonate today—as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, further underscoring the influence of the Chicano Movement and its artists on the cultural and societal fabric of the American West.”
The Autry, La Raza
September 16, 2017–February 10, 2019
Between 1967 and 1977, the Chicano newspaper-turned-magazine La Raza was witness to and participant in the struggle for social justice as it unfolded across Los Angeles and into the world beyond. Marking the 50th anniversary of the publication’s founding, and drawing from a previously inaccessible archive of more than 25,000 images recently gifted by the photographers to UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center.
Within La Raza, photographs are more than illustration; they forge a persuasive visual argument for equal rights and an intimate, nuanced portrait of the Mexican American community as resilient and empowered. While they speak to the unique concerns of the Chicano Movement, or El Movimiento, they also transcend the historical context of the magazine. Considered broadly, the photographs of La Raza become a site where the stakes of injustice are exposed and the power of the camera as a social equalizer is revealed. The Autry’s exhibition examines the role of photography in lending both vision and voice to Mexican American peoples in Los Angeles during this era, shaping a common identity while calling for empowerment and change.
Featuring more than 200 of the archive’s most compelling and powerful images—digitally printed, framed, and installed— alongside graphics, text, and images drawn from the magazine, the collection invites analysis of the photographers’ aesthetic strategies as well as the interdisciplinary format in which they are situated. The immersive environment of the exhibition includes a central, interactive touch screen that encourages visitors to explore the archive in greater depth, emphasizing the artistic and social achievements represented in the archive through its major themes. The 200 photographs on the walls represent only the tip of the iceberg. Through the Autry’s interactive touchscreen table, visitors can explore over 12,000 images from the full La Raza archive across a variety of categories—allowing each user to choose a unique path through the La Raza experience.
Amy Scott, the Autry's Chief Curator played a major organizing role of the exhibition LA RAZA that is produced in collaboration with UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, directed by Chon Noriega and co-curated by Amy Scott and Luis C. Garza, a La Raza photographer and independent curator.
The above is edited from the Autry’s Press Release. For the complete Press material, see TheAutry.org/LARAZA.
In our next posting, we will look at Playing with Fire: The Art of Carlos Alamaraz at LACMA.