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Art History: Chicano/a Art

This guide will help you with research related to art history. For thesis information, see the "Thesis Help" section of this guide.

Other Books of Note

Here are a few books not in our collection at Pratt but are worth the request of an interlibrary loan. Click here for the ILL request form so the book can be requested from another institution. ILLs usually arrive 1-1.5 weeks after the request and you can pick them up at either the Brooklyn or Manhattan library locations. 

Chican@ Art

John Valadez, Two Vendors, © 1989, John M. Valadez

The term Chicano or Chicana might not be familiar to everyone. It is a term whose meaning and associations have changed over time and vary from region to region. Today, in the United States, the term Chicano or Chicana is used to describe Mexican-Americans and usually is associated with a political consciousness. Cheech Marin wrote a piece in the Huffington Post describing his interpretation of the word and other identifiers used to describe Spanish-speaking peoples. Other spellings of the word include Chican@ and Xicano or Xican@. These spellings aim to be inclusive of the feminine conjugation.

Chican@ art really took off in the 1960s with the Civil Rights Movement and, soon after, the Chicano Movement in the 1970s. Chican@ art, like Latin American art, is known for it's heterogeneity of style, iconography, and symbolism. Chican@ art blends references and symbolism used by indigenous peoples like the Aztecs and Mayans, the Mexican muralists, and activist artists working contemporaneously. Chican@ art is also described as having a political and social element as opposed to a purely aesthetic one. The mediums are wide-ranging as well and include paintings, murals, installations, sculptures, altars, performance art, photography, posters and more. 

A great article to read for a comprehensive introduction to Chican@ art is:

 Ybarra-Frausto, Tomas. "The Chicano Movement / The Movement of Chicano Art." In Exhibiting cultures: the poetics and politics of museum display. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991. 129. The book is available at Pratt here.



Books from Pratt

Here are some of the books at Pratt's library that discuss Chicano and Chicana art and literature.

Online Resources and Digital Archives


If you're looking for specific information on a particular topic or maybe an exhibition review, articles in periodicals are probably your best bet. You can find citations for articles and reviews in any of the databases below on the Pratt Library's list of databases. 

Created By:

Barbara Calderón-Douglass

Evening and Weekend Public Services Assistant 

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