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The digital realm defines a new chapter of Chicanx graphics. Artists use technologically based artwork to critique Big Tech, as well as distribute digital graphics across social media networks as a unifying call for social justice. This virtual conversation features artists from ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now who use digital strategies as a form of political advocacy for issues such as immigration, the commodification of personal data, and queer rights. Panelists include San Antonio–based artist Michael Menchaca, whose multimedia works incorporate ancient Mesoamerican iconography and digital interfaces to comment on tech culture and its adverse effects on communities of color; and Los Angeles–based undocumented queer artist and social justice activist Julio Salgado, who is best known for his digital images supporting the migrant rights movement. This virtual conversation is moderated by Claudia Zapata, curatorial assistant for Latinx art at the Smithsonian American art. Zapata also authored the essay “Chicanx Art in the Digital Age,” in the ¡Printing the Revolution! catalogue.
This program is the fifth in a five-part online conversation series that examines Chicanx graphics and how artists have used printmaking to debate larger social causes, reflect on issues of their time, and build community. The series featured artists, scholars, and activists discussing the significance of the Chicanx graphics movement, from civil rights–era prints to today’s digital landscape. Watch all five conversations on the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s YouTube channel.
This program received generous support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.