• Emigdio Vasquez (1939-2014, American). Detail: “El Proletariado de Aztla´n”, 1979, acrylic on plaster, 8’ x 40’. Chapman University Art Collections, © Emigdio Vasquez Art. Photo: Jessica Bocinski
    © Emigdio Vasquez Art. Photo: Jessica Bocinski

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA


The Geography of Chicano Murals in Orange County

» Emigdio Vasquez and El Proletariado de Aztlán

September 13, 2017 to January 5, 2018

The Art Collections department at Chapman University has been selected to partner in the 2017 Getty Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative with a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary exploration of Chicano art in Orange County. The springboard for Chapman’s project is a 1979 mural, El Proletariado de Aztlán, by Emigdio Vasquez. For Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Chapman’s curatorial team will launch the first comprehensive investigation of Vasquez’ local murals and the communities they identify.

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Check back on this page in the coming months for more information about our opening celebration and related events and programming. Please direct any inquiries to Natalie Lawler, Curator of Collections, artcollections@chapman.edu

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+ - What is Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA?

Emigdio Vasquez and El Proletariado de Aztlán: the geography of Chicano murals in Orange County is presented in partnership with Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, PST: LA/LA takes place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. For more information about PST:LA/LA, please visit their website.

+ - Who is Emigdio Vasquez?

Vasquez was a prolific artist who painted over 30 public murals in Orange County between 1976 and 2006. His murals celebrated the Chicano cultural movement, depicting local people and places alongside imagery from Mexican and Mexican-American history. His 1979 mural, El Proletariado de Aztlán, is located on a Chapman University-owned apartment building on North Cypress Street, Orange. In 2014, Chapman partnered with the Orange Barrio Historical Society and local artist Higgy Vasquez, Emigdio Vasquez’ son, to restore the mural.

+ - How is Chapman Participating?

This interdisciplinary project will comprise five distinct components, all launching in Fall 2017:

  • Exhibition at the Guggenheim Gallery
    • In addition to his work as a prolific muralist, community leader and advocate for youth, Vasquez produced hundreds of oil paintings during his career, many of which, in their documentation of Chicano community life, relate directly to his murals. The exhibition in the Guggenheim Gallery brings together a group of these works which expand our understanding of El Proletariado de Aztlán, as well as works by contemporary Chicano artists who respond to similar themes.

      Identifying Vasquez’s mural as a bridge shared by the Orange community and Chapman University, the exhibition will nourish dialogues concerning the emergence of Chicano/a politics, identity, and artistic sensibilities in the North Orange County region.
  • Exhibition in the Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum
    • Vasquez and his family compiled an extensive archive of newspaper clippings and ephemera relating to his career. In January 2016, Chapman Art History faculty member Denise Johnson led an interterm course on Vasquez and the Chicano/a mural movement. Students in the course focused their research on this archival material – their research places Vasquez in historical and regional context, forming the basis of an exhibition in the Henley Galleria cases.
  • Free Downloadable App Mapping Historic Mural Sites in Orange County
    • The Art Collections department is partnering with the Computer Science department to produce a downloadable app that will identify the locations of Vasquez’ remaining murals, plus those that have been destroyed. In Spring 2017, Computer Science students will work with faculty member Ryan Burns, in association with Andrew Mosier, Director, Interdisciplinary Initiatives for Chapman, to build an app that maps murals and delivers information on their history and subject matter. This aspect of the project will also involve graphic design students from the Art Department, supervised by Andrew Shalat in designing the interface.
  • New Mural Centered on Chapman University History
    • One of the most exciting aspects of the project is a new mural that will permanently connect the communities of Orange and Chapman University in a shared commitment to social justice. The 10 x 20 ft. mural is proposed for Moulton Courtyard, to be executed by Higgy Vasquez, assisted by Chapman University art students and Orange High School students.

      This mural will celebrate Chapman University’s history and identity, and draw on the university’s archives in Leatherby Libraries, as well as ideas from students, faculty and staff about its present identity and future goals.

      We are very grateful to the Ellingson Family for funding this new mural.
  • Symposium on Chicano/a Murals
    • A symposium on Chicano/a murals in the region is being organized for Fall 2017. Artists, community advocates and museum professionals will come together in an afternoon session to discuss the aesthetics, politics, and on-going history of this art form in southern California.
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