Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Poster of the Week

The Silver Dollar (Rubén Salazar)
Rupert García
Silkscreen, 1990
Berkeley, California
The Chicano Moratorium, formally known as the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, was a movement of Chicano anti-war activists that built a broad-based but fragile coalition of Mexican-American groups to organize opposition to the Viet Nam War. Led by activists from local colleges and members of the "Brown Berets", a group with roots in the high school student movement that staged walkouts in 1968, the coalition peaked with an August 29, 1970 march in East Los Angeles that drew an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 demonstrators.
Rubén Salazar was a well-known writer and journalist for KMEX-TV and the Los Angeles Times. After covering the Chicano moratorium march on August 29, Salazar and two friends stopped for a beer at the Silver Dollar Bar near Laguna Park. Police surrounded the place, allegedly looking for a man with a rifle, who had actually been caught hours before. Police threw a ten-inch tear-gas projectile into the bar attempting to make the occupants leave. The missile hit Salazar and killed him.
40 years later there are still many unanswered questions surrounding his death. Before dying Salazar had been working on a story that highlighted how local government seemed intent on ignoring all the complaints and violations involving police encounters with Mexican-Americans. No one was ever tried for his death, even though police admitted the tear-gas should not have been used in the incident.
In March 2010, the Los Angeles Times filed a California Public Records Act request for records of the shooting. On August 9, 2010, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca refused to release eight boxes of records regarding Salazar’s death. Three days later, in response to pressure from Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and other county supervisor board members, Baca agreed to reconsider his position. At the time of this posting, no records have been released.
About the Artist: After serving in the Viet Nam War, Rupert Garcia became fully involved in the Chicano and other civil rights movements. He studied painting and printmaking at San Francisco State University, earning a B.A. (1968) and an M.A. (1970), and a second M.A. in the history of art from the University of California, Berkeley (1981). He produced silkscreen posters for the 1968 San Francisco State student strike and for the 1970 Chicano Moratorium. Garcia became an influential force as a silkscreen print and poster artist, combining contemporary art forms, the aesthetics and images from the mass media and consumer culture with an expression of social conscience. In 2000, he received the “Art is a Hammer Award” from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.

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