Chapter 5 Painting the Walls
The mid-1970s saw a number of Chicano artists and intellectuals move into Highland Park, which became ground zero for an emerging Mexican-American art movement that would gain widespread local attention and international exposure.
In stark contrast to the upscale galleries of West Los Angeles, where the emphasis was on individualistic and absrtact conceptual art, East Los Angeles neighborhoods became home to an art form that emphasized themes of community, cultural pride, and economic struggle inherited from great Mexican muralists of a previous generation such as Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Connected with the Chicano/a nationalist movement, the artists in this new movement were working towards increasing the visibility of both the Mexican-American experience and of the problems of justice and equality faced by members of their community.
The mid-1970s saw a number of Chicano artists and intellectuals begin to move from the East Los Angeles area into Highland Park. It was a moment where the demographic transformation of a white neighborhood into a Chicano/Latino community would play a large part in helping shape the concepts and practices of the artists involved, white flight, declining property values, and Highland Park’s long history as home to artists, art communities and art movements contributing themes to the next generation of creatives.
This chapter has been produced through a collaboration with Avenue 50 Studio