Bringing Aztlan to Mexican Chicago

Bringing Aztlan to Mexican Chicago: My Life, My Work, My Art

José Gamaliel González
Edited and with an Introduction by Marc Zimmerman
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt1xchxt
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  • Book Info
    Bringing Aztlan to Mexican Chicago
    Book Description:

    Bringing Aztlan to Mexican Chicago is the autobiography of Jose Gamaliel Gonzalez, an impassioned artist willing to risk all for the empowerment of his marginalized and oppressed community. Through recollections emerging in a series of interviews conducted over a period of six years by his friend Marc Zimmerman, Gonzalez looks back on his life and his role in developing Mexican, Chicano, and Latino art as a fundamental dimension of the city he came to call home._x000B__x000B_Born near Monterrey, Mexico, and raised in a steel mill town in northwest Indiana, Gonzalez studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. Settling in Chicago, he founded two major art groups: El Movimiento Artístico Chicano (MARCH) in the 1970s and Mi Raza Arts Consortium (MIRA) in the 1980s. _x000B__x000B_With numerous illustrations, this book portrays Gonzalez's all-but-forgotten community advocacy, his commitments and conflicts, and his long struggle to bring quality arts programming to the city. By turns dramatic and humorous, his narrative also covers his bouts of illness, his relationships with other artists and arts promoters, and his place within city and barrio politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09014-1
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Marc Zimmerman
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Marc Zimmerman
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-xxx)
    Marc Zimmerman

    I first met José Gamaliel González when I began working as coordinator of the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Student Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Part of my job was to meet and work with people in the community, and one of my new colleagues, Mary Kay Vaughan, told me I had to meet her ex-husband and father of her child Alicia, José González, an artist and the cofounder of the Movimiento Artístico Chicano (MARCH), the major Latino arts organization in Chicago and the one who seemed most likely to establish a Mexican gallery or museum in...

  6. Invocation: Some Framing Thoughts
    (pp. 1-2)

    This will be the story of my life—my work as a Mexican artist and arts promoter in Chicago’s Mexican community. There’s so much to tell, and I’m not sure I can tell it all. Sometimes I think I’m losing memory. I remember the order and dates of things and the things more or less, but I seem to leave out the details. Then I remember the smallest things, but the details are confused or kind of hazy—I can’t quite get it, or I guess I don’t get at the importance some of these things might’ve had for me...

  7. 1 The Early Years (1933–55)
    (pp. 3-15)

    My family is from two places. My mother is from Texas—atexana—and my father is from Iturbide, Nuevo León, Mexico, a small village about thirty miles from Monterrey. He was born there, and then I was, on April 20, 1933.

    My mother’s father was from Durango, Mexico, I think, but he’d gone to the Midwest when she was pretty young. My father came up to East Chicago, Indiana, as a migrant worker. They met in the early thirties, during the Depression, at a time when a lot of Mexicans were being sent back from Chicago to Mexico. That’s...

  8. 2 From High School to Notre Dame (1955–71)
    (pp. 16-50)

    I graduated high school, but I didn’t go to work. Instead I went to study art at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts for a year. The school no longer exists, but it was near the corner of Rush Street and Chicago Avenue in the heart of the Gold Coast, the city’s key nightlife area for tourists. It was there that I learned to draw and paint watercolors (fig. 10). We did some oils, but we didn’t do many because of the expense.

    Most of my experiences were commercial in the early years. I didn’t think of art school the...

  9. 3 The MARCH Years (1971–79)
    (pp. 51-83)

    I left Notre Dame in 1971, and in 1972 I gave birth to the Movimient Artístico Chicano (MARCH). I’d like to tell the story of what happened as I went quickly along a path that led to MARCH.

    First, I went back to Hammond because that’s where I lived with my mother, and it was in Hammond that I began to get involved with some local Latino organizations. There’s no question that leaving Notre Dame meant a long period of confusion and disorientation for me. I supported myself by taking on part-time freelance work in Chicago. I was literally bouncing...

  10. 4 Raíces, MIRA, and the MFAC (1979–92)
    (pp. 84-120)

    It seemed that most of what I’d been building was now in ruins, but that was really not the case. Most of the old MARCH group dropped out from that organization and waited to see where I or they might go. In the meantime, I was continuing my Task Force work, and my Task Force connections were keeping doors open as I began to dream up a new organization and project.

    Even toward the end of 1979, in a moment of deep pain in my life, I got involved in bringing an important exhibit, Raíces Antiguas, Visiones Nuevas, to Chicago....

  11. 5 Art, Work, and Health (1990–2007)
    (pp. 121-148)

    During the period of MIRA and for years afterward, my struggle was going to be like being thrown in hell. I was dealing with a series of attacks or breakdowns. I was in and out of hospitals, body- and mental-health facilities, and halfway homes. There were times when I had intense visions, when I walked the streets also unconscious without a coat on in thirty or even minus-thirty degrees. Sometimes I’d get all hyped up and then put on downers that led to depression, trembling hands, and even some states of sleep that bordered on unconsciousness. Then, even as I...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 149-152)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 153-154)
  14. Index
    (pp. 155-166)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 167-170)