Oral history interview with Frank Romero, 1997 January 17-March 2
Romero, Frank, 1941-
Rangel, Jeffrey J.
Mugnaini, Joseph A.
Rocha, Roberto de la
Luján, Gilbert Sánchez
Sheets, Millard Owen
Four (Art group)
Otis Art Institute
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 99 pages.
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 27 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Frank Romero conducted 1997 January 17-March 2, by Jeffrey Rangel, for the Archives of American Art, in Romero's studio, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Romero discusses his growing up in East Los Angeles and his large extended family; his earliest art studies in the public schools; attending the Otis Art Institute where he studied with Joe Mugnaini and had contact with Millard Sheets and Peter Voulkos; the "very polyglut culture" of East Los Angeles; the influences of television, western movies, rock-and-roll, and rhythm and blues on his early musical/artistic taste; time spent in New York; returning to Los Angeles in 1969; and his marriage and family.
He describes his move into Carlos Almaraz's house which became the informal meeting place of the artist group Los Four (Almaraz, Romero, Gilbert Sanchez Lujan, and Roberto "Beto" de la Rocha); the Los Four show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1974; and the stylistic aesthetics of Los Four.
Romero describes the "boys club" nature of Chicano art centers; his contributions to the Chicano art movement; his relationship to the Chicano/Mexican culture and mainstream U.S. culture; murals done by members of Los Four for the Inner City Mural Program; his work for the Metropolitan Transit Authority; the Murals of Aztlan exhibit in 1981 at the Craft and Folk Art Museum; and his shows at the ARCO Center for the Visual Arts. He concludes with his assessment of the Chicano arts movement, the relationship between economic and art cycles, and the role of the more established artists to those of a younger generation.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Frank Romero, 1997 January 17-March 2. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The digital preservation of this interview received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
Frank Romero (1941- ) is a painter from Los Angeles, Calif.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators. Funding for the interview provided by the Smithsonian Institution Latino Pool Fund.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001