“I think there’s a way in which Chicanx and Latinx art history is still fundamentally, or portions of it, are fundamentally illegible to the discipline.”
Caro Fowler speaks with C. Ondine Chavoya, professor of art history and Latino/a studies at Williams College. They discuss what shaped Ondine’s interest in Chicanx art and his role in establishing a Latina/Latino Studies program at Williams, as well as his work as a curator, most notably of the 2011 exhibition Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987, on the Chicano performance and conceptual art group Asco. Additionally, Ondine and Caro think about the immersive experience of building and researching from an archive, and the ways those processes shape history. Ondine also reflects on his experiences of institutional racism in art history and shares some the ways in which he hopes to move the field forward.
C. Ondine Chavoya is professor of art history and Latina/o Studies at Williams College, where he teaches courses in contemporary art and visual culture. A specialist in Chicanx and Latinx art, Chavoya’s writings have appeared in Afterimage, Arftorum, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, CR: The New Centennial Review, Performance Research, Wide Angle, and in numerous exhibition catalogues and edited volumes. His curatorial projects have addressed issues of collaboration, experimentation, social justice, and archival practices in contemporary art. Recent exhibitions include Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987 (with Rita Gonzalez), Robert Rauschenberg: Autobiography (with Lisa Dorin), and Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. (with David Evans Frantz).
This conversation was recorded on May 28, 2020. Photo: UNLV Creative Services/Josh Hawkins