February 4, 2002

Subject: Re: AztlanNet: courtesy to oromano re Alma Lopez/ Pedro Romero exchange
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 10:28:52 EST
From: Sedeno7@aol.com
To: AztlanNet@yahoogroups.com
CC: almalopez@earthlink.net, oromano@tqsbooks, magu4u@hotmail.com, kaytiejohnson@yahoo.com, joeyspouch2004@yahoo.com, lizz.romero@tedi.state.tx.us, TraveisaBlue@aol.com

In a message dated 2/2/02 oromano@tqsbooks.com writes re Alma Lopez/Pedro Romero debate on AztlanNet@yahoogroups.com:
What is Art?  And what is an artist?  What is the sphere that constitutes an artists domain? If I had an answer to these questions I would be better able to follow and understand the exchange.

Oromano,  "Art", like "love", ia a word for a big category. Pertinent to this dialogue are questions about the nature and role of religious or devotional art, and also that of political or issue-oriented art  The  art being  analyzed is derivative of what is considered by many a religious icon that has influenced the cultural identity and history of  the Mexican/Chicano people, i.e. the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Confusion exists in the artworld about this religious icon because confusion exists about words such as God, deity, and religion; and also because of the artworld's ignorance of Mexican and Chicana/o culture and history.  I also believe confusion exists in the artworld about the word "freedom" in that the artworld is pretty much dominated by secular totalitarianism in modern society.  ( see my posting to this listserve Feb 2: Secular Totalitarianism).    This confusion complicates the discussion about the art in question.  The discussion is also complicated because the work in question is a secular series derivative of a religious image.  .

What informs my personal answer to your question is my belief that "Art results from wo/man's attempt to escape the lack of beauty in her/his material environment".  Art, for me, is a gesture to the spiritual, the artist is the gesturer, the idealist attempting the escape.   False or true perception of what is beauty, freedom, spirit can hinder or help the attempt.   The viewer of the art decides for his/herself if the attempt is successful.

I believe beauty is a spiritual value. So is truth, so is goodness. Into this "domain" the artist must traverse if the work is to prove to be progressive.  I believe man and woman have different "spheres" of influence which prevent total understanding between the two.  I think feminist art comes into its full power when it acknowledges and upholds, rather than ignores, the maternal values of womanhood.  This conjecture of mine  is a key, I maintain,  to understanding the differences between Alma Lopez's "La Lupe series" and the original icon of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" , the goal of my participation in this exchange.   
-Pedro Romero Sedeno   M.F.A.


Subject: Re: AztlanNet: Re: Alma Lopez/ Pedro Romero debateon AztlanNet@yahoogroups.com
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 21:13:39 EST
From: rosamwill@aol.com
Reply-To: AztlanNet@yahoogroups.com
To: AztlanNet@yahoogroups.com

You don't have to go to the library to use the computer, you can create special characters for Spanish language using the standard key board. All computers have this capability. Press and hold down the Alt key then type the corresponding number of the character you want on the NUMERIC KEYPAD. For example: the virgulilla ñ, or as Alma calls it "enye", in lower case--hold down Alt and type 164; for capital Ñ = Alt+165. For the dieresis ALT+129. Or do a search file "special characters" on your computer to access all the special keys' corresponding number codes.

By the way guys, I think it was in 1996-7? there was a big 5-6 day conference sponsored by the Smithsonian and UTSan Antonio on La Virgen. Innumerable scholars, writers, artists, even priests, working with the image of La Lupe from all over the world, Africa, Italy, South America, Spain, were there; including Yolanda Lopez, myself, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Tere Romo, Antonia Castaneda, Arturo de la Madrid, Sandra Cisneros, Maria Herrera-Sobek, Ines Talamantez. There were lots of papers presented, (in some cases heated) discussions, poetry, film, several exhibitions, photography you name it. The subject was discussed adnauseum. You may be able to obtain audio tapes of the presentations from the Smithsonian; some really interesting stuff went on. Keep on posting, love the discussions. . .

P.S. Last time I was in Santa Fe visiting family, I stopped in to see Marianna Tey, she told me there had been a big mitote over your work Alma. That it mostly came from some sour grapes artist who was jealous at not having been included in the show. She said something about the putz leaving kotex with red paint in protest and making a big pedo over the show. Imaginate! Which I saw, by the way. I was particularly jealous of the Santo Niño de Atocha with computer objects. That was sooo fine. Damn it, I was going to make that sculpture! I almost thought it up, truly, I almost had it. :-)  Good Show Alma! and congratulations on the continuing controversy, Ha! we should all be so lucky. Half the time one goes into an exhibition and ten minutes later can't recall what one saw because the stuff is so phenomenally forgetable. Not this one, I remember every bit of it, right down to the way the graphics were designed on the wall. Look here, how many months has it been and we're still on topic. Well, enough about you, lets talk about me now.. . . :-)
Rosa M.