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Oral history interview with Frank Romero

Interviewee:
Romero, Frank  Search this
Interviewer:
Rangel, Jeffrey J.  Search this
Names:
Los Four (Art group)  Search this
Otis Art Institute -- Students  Search this
Almaraz, Carlos  Search this
Mugnaini, Joseph A.  Search this
Rocha, Roberto de la  Search this
Sanchez Luján, Gilbert  Search this
Sheets, Millard, 1907-1989  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
99 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1997 January 17-March 2
Scope and Contents:
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.
Biographical / Historical:
Frank Romero (1941- ) is a painter from Los Angeles, Calif.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 27 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Muralists -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Mexican American artists  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Mexican American art  Search this
Street art  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- 20th century -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Chicano art movement  Search this
Chicano artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.romero97
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-romero97

Oral history interview with Gilbert Sanchez Lujan

Interviewee:
Sanchez Luján, Gilbert  Search this
Interviewer:
Rangel, Jeffrey J.  Search this
Names:
Los Four (Art group)  Search this
Almaraz, Carlos  Search this
Rocha, Roberto de la  Search this
Romero, Frank  Search this
Extent:
104 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1997 Nov. 7-17
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Gilbert Lujan conducted 1997 Nov. 7-17, by Jeffrey Rangel, for the Archives of American Art, in Los Angeles, Calif. and La Mesa, N.M.
Sanchez Lujan discusses his growing up in a rural community, East Los Angeles, and Mexico; how early experiences and changes in culture have affected his art and developed his interest in history and politics; his attraction to black culture and the relationship of art as a medium for inter-ethnic interaction where politics and human nature create divisions; his understanding of racial segregation and apartheid in California society; coming into consciousness as a Chicano; and his collaboration and the formation of Los Four with Roberto de la Rocha, Carlos Almaraz, and Frank Romero.
Biographical / Historical:
Gilbert Sanchez Lujan (1940-2011) was a painter from Los Angeles and La Mesa, N.M.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 42 min.
Provenance:
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 this interview provided by the Smithsonian Latino Pool Allocation.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- New Mexico -- La Mesa -- Interviews  Search this
Chicano artists  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.lujan97
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-lujan97

Oral history interview with Gronk

Interviewee:
Gronk, 1954-  Search this
Interviewer:
Rangel, Jeffrey J.  Search this
Names:
Asco (Group of artists)  Search this
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Gallery)  Search this
Los Four (Art group)  Search this
Dreva, Jerry  Search this
Extent:
6 Sound cassettes (Sound recording (ca. 6 hrs.), analog)
94 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1997 Jan. 20-23
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Gronk conducted by Jeffrey Rangel for the Archives of American Art.
Gronk discusses differences between two artists' group, Los Four and and Asco; the Chicano artists view of Asco; isolation from the Chicano arts movement as well as the mainstream avant-garde art scene; his relationship with Jerry Dreva and the development of mail art and the Dreva/Gronk Show: 1968-1978 at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; and his 1983 NEA fellowship for performance/conceptual work.
Biographical / Historical:
Gronk (1954-) is an artist from California. Gronk, whose full name is Glugio Gronk Nicandro, was born in Los Angeles in 1954. As a member of the 1970s activist performance group, Asco (nausea), with Harry Gamboa, Jr., Patssi Valdez, and Willie Herron, Gronk arranged anti-war protests and painted graffiti murals.
Provenance:
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 Latino Fund.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Chicano artists  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- 20th century -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.gronk97
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gronk97

Oral history interview with Rupert Garcia

Interviewee:
Garcia, Rupert, 1941-  Search this
Interviewer:
Karlstrom, Paul J.  Search this
Names:
Asco (Group of artists)  Search this
Galería de la Raza (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Los Four (Art group)  Search this
San Francisco State University -- Students  Search this
Almaraz, Carlos  Search this
Lippard, Lucy R.  Search this
Montoya, Malaquias, 1938-  Search this
Extent:
9 Sound cassettes (Sound recording (8 1/2 hrs.), analog)
166 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1995 Sept. 7-1996 June 24
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Rupert Garcia conducted 1995 Sept. 7-1996 June 24, by Paul J. Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, at Rupert Garcia's home and studio, in Oakland, Calif.
SEPT. 7, 1995 SESSION: Session opens with a discussion of Garcia's exhibition, Aspects of Persistence (1993); the deaths in 1968 of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Marcel Duchamp; Garcia's self-conception and his two roles as political activist and artist; the influence on him of Sartre's "Being and Nothingness"; racism, power, control; his background and being a Mexican-American; need to establish ethnic identity; his realization in high school of wanting to become an artist; his lost opportunity for a scholarship at the San Francisco Art Institute; moving to San Francisco; enlisting in the Air Force and serving in Vietnam; ambivalence about war; experiences at San Francisco State University and his switch from painting to silkscreen; Artes Seis and Galerie de la Raza; artists in the Mission District.
NOV. 10, 1995 SESSION: Painting vs. graphic art; posters; Lucy Lippard; Chicano art; Los Four, Asco, and other artists groups and conferences; conflicts between San Francisco and Oakland groups; emergence of identity groups; Malaquias Montoya, Carlos Almaraz; making art from experience.
JUNE 24, 1996: Politics of culture; social progress; being optimistic but realistic; the Latino movement in the 1990s; Mexican attitudes toward Chicanos; the CARA exhibition at UCLA; Garcia's students at San José State; current work, interests and projects; interest in art history and other intellectual pursuits; and the art market, dealers, and galleries.
Biographical / Historical:
Rupert Garcia (1941-) is a painter and teacher from the San Francisco Bay area, Calif.
Provenance:
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, administrators. Funding for this interview provided by the Smithsonian Institution Latino Pool Allocation Fund.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Chicano artists  Search this
Painters -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.garcia95
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-garcia95

Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores papers

Creator:
Almaraz, Carlos  Search this
Flores, Elsa  Search this
Names:
Los Four (Art group)  Search this
Extent:
7.9 Linear feet
7.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Drawings
Date:
1946-1996
1946-1996
Summary:
The papers of painters and muralists Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1946 to 1996. The collection documents the careers of both artists through biographical material, correspondence, writings, professional files, personal business records, printed material and artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painters and muralists Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1946 to 1996. The collection documents the careers of both artists through biographical material, correspondence, writings, professional files, personal business records, printed material and artwork.

Biographical material includes documents regarding Almaraz's death, identification documents, and a few photographs and slides. Correspondence is with family, friends, galleries, museums, and arts organizations. Writings include nine journals belonging to Almaraz and Flores containing travel notes, daily activities and personal thoughts, as well as writings on other topics and writings by others. Professional files document the Los Four group, projects, events, exhibitions, and memberships with arts organizations. Personal business records include legal and financial material along with records relating to Almaraz and Flores's house in Kauai, Almaraz's scholarship fund, and for Almaraz Studio. Printed materials include publications featuring artwork and articles by or about Almaraz and Flores. Original artwork includes sketchbooks, drawings, cutouts, and a watercolor.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as seven series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1946-1994 (Boxes 1, 8-9; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1974-1996 (Boxes 1-4, OV 10; 3.0 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1972-1994 (Boxes 4, 8-9, OV 10; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 4: Professional Files, 1973-1994 (Boxes 4-5, 9, OV 11; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1974-1995 (Box 5; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1972-1995 (Boxes 6-7. 9, OV 10; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1975-1996 (Boxes 7-9; 1.4 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Carlos Almaraz (1941-1989) was a painter and muralist in Los Angeles, California. His wife Elsa Flores (1955- ) is also a painter and muralist. Almaraz and Flores collaborated on the mural California Dreamscape as part of the Chicano street arts movement.

Almaraz was born in Mexico City, moving to Chicago in 1942, and settling in Los Angeles in 1949. He studied at California State College, the Otis Art Institute, and the University of California in Los Angeles. He moved to New York City in 1965, where he studied at the Art Students League and New School of Social Research. In 1970, Almaraz returned to Los Angeles. He became active with mural painting within the Mexican American community in Los Angeles. Along with Gilbert Lujan, Beto de la Rocha, and Frank Romero, Almaraz founded the artist collective Los Four.

Elsa Flores was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her mother was born in Sinaloa, Mexico, and her father was of Arab descent, born in Chile after his paretns fled the Middle East. Elsa studied at the Art Center College, California State University, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. Almaraz and Flores married in 1981 and their daughter Maya was born in 1983. They collaborated on California Dreamscape, a mural commissioned by the California Arts Council and is located in the Reagan State Building in Los Angeles. In the late 1980s, Almaraz was diagnosed with AIDS and died in 1989.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an oral history with Carlos Almaraz conducted by Margarita Nieto from February 6, 1986 to January 29, 1987 and an oral history with Elsa Flores conducted by Jeffrey Rangel from February 18, 1997 to April 30, 1997.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of sketchbooks and notebooks (volumes 1-78) lent for microfilming (reels 4578-4587). Loaned materials were returned to the donor and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
Sketchbook and journal volumes 1-78 were lent for microfilming by Elsa Flores in 1991. Sketchbook and journal volumes 79-84 were donated, some by Carlos Almaraz in 1986 and the remainder in 1991 by Flores and microfilmed onto reel 4587, fr. 93-456. In 1997, additional papers were donated by Flores.
Restrictions:
The collection is access restricted, except for Box 8; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information. Box 8, containing six journals and sketchbooks (volumes 79-84) and slides are not restricted.

Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Rights:
Six journals and sketchbooks (volumes 79-84): Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce requires written permission from Elsa Flores. Microfilm Reels 4578-4587: Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce requires written permission from Elsa Flores. Contact Reference Services for more information
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Muralists -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Topic:
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Chicano art movement  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Drawings
Citation:
Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores papers, 1946-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.almacarl
See more items in:
Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-almacarl

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