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Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research material on Chicano art, 1965-2004

Biographical Note

Papelitos (little bits of paper), whether rent receipts, paid bills, or piles of personal letters, can become layered bundles of personal history. I have always been a pepenador (a scavenger) and saver of paper scraps. Diary notes, scribbled annotations, and first drafts are often useful indicators of ideas and gestation. Papelitos are the fragments of every-day life that gain expanded meaning integrated into the larger historical events of a period.
In the decade of the 1960s, I started saving ephemeral material--exhibition announcements, clippings of individual artists and of organizations fomenting a Chicano art movement. The social scenarios of the period such as marches, strikes, sit-ins, and mobilizations for social justice all spawned manifestos, posters, leaflets, and other forms of printed material. I somehow managed to assemble and protect the evanescent printed information that recorded the birth and development of Chicano art.
As I started to research and write about Chicano art and artists of the period, I continued to clip, photocopy, and preserve material given me by Mexican-American artists from throughout the nation. My idea was to form an archive that would be comprehensive rather than selective. I knew that it was the offbeat, singular piece of paper with a missing link of information that would attract the scholar.
Today, several decades after the flowering of Chicano art, there is still a lamentable paucity of research and information about this significant component of American art.
It is my fervent hope that this compendium of information will function as a resonant print and image bank for investigators of Chicano culture. Perhaps contained within the archive are the facts that will inspire new visions or revisions of Chicano art and culture--this is my fondest dream.
Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto
New York City, 1998