|What’s Not To Love?|
Chicano/Latino Whimsy, Humor, Parody and Satire
What is humor? Ironies, the incongruent, the strange with the familiar. Two cultures. A stifled, ridiculed culture and a free Anglo one. A culture clash.
—José Antonio Burciaga
Comedy is nothing more than tragedy deferred.
What’s Not to Love? is the last of Galería’s three 35th anniversary exhibitions, which together focused on practices and concepts that have been central to Chicano/Latino artmaking across generations. The first exhibit, Weedee Peepo, showcased artworks that honored individuals in the context of community life —from cultural and political leaders to everyday folks whose very existence inspire the evolving process of cultural affirmation and survival. The second exhibition, Trazos delved into the repertoire of images in Chicano/Latino art that reassert the historical past while persistently endowing them with new cultural meaning. What’s Not to Love?, in turn, closes the series with fresh expressions of humor encompassing a wide range of practices that span the whimsy of images created by free-association and incongruous analogy as well as the wry humor of political satire, irony and parody.
The themes range from the parody of media misrepresentations of Latino culture, the distortion of stereotypes, the cannibalization of culture, politics, religion and sex, and women’s issues to the inevitable self-deprecating humor rooted in the permanent cultural identity crisis experienced by individuals caught in the cracks of the American melting pot.
Visual humor serves both as diversion as well as a device to spark consciousness. T.S. Eliot describes it as a “way of saying something serious.” In this sense, many of the visual humorists participating in What’s Not to Love? offer sweet and sour witticisms that are content-driven and deal with cultural, social and political issues, while others simply subvert the seriousness of daily life.
Humor, however, is never complete without the viewer’s active response. What’s Not to Love?, therefore, is an invitation to the viewer to engage in a participatory experience in Latino art’s relentless use of humor. As the pinto motto goes “Smile now, cry later”. Orale!
Participating Artists: Lalo Alcaraz, Roberto C. Buitron, Liz Lerma, Enrique Chagoya, Culture Clash, Jaime Cortez, Rudy Cuellar, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Fulana (Cristina Ibarra, Marlène Ramírez-Cancio, Lisandra Ramos-Grullón y Andrea Thome), John Leaños, Noelia Mendoza, Seline Szkupinski Quiroga, Conchita Villalba, José Montoya, Victor Payan, Gerardo Perez, Praba Pilar, Isis Rodriguez, Jos Sances, Perry Vasquez, Gustavo Vazquez, Esteban Villa, and René Yañez.