Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. is a traveling exhibition that explores the intersections among a network of over fifty artists. This historical exhibition is the first of its kind to excavate histories of experimental art practice, collaboration, and exchange by a group of Los Angeles based queer Chicanx artists between the late 1960s and early 1990s. While the exhibition’s heart looks at the work of Chicanx artists in Los Angeles, it reveals extensive new research into the collaborative networks that connected these artists to one another and to artists from many different communities, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, and international urban centers, thus deepening and expanding narratives about the development of the Chicano Art Movement, performance art, and queer aesthetics and practices.
As referenced in its title, the exhibition also sheds light onto the work of Edmundo “Mundo” Meza (1955-1985), a central figure within his generation. Primarily a painter, but also known for his performances, design, and installation work, Meza collaborated with many of his peers towards developing new art practices amid emerging movements of political and social justice activism.
Axis Mundo presents over two decades of work — painting, performance ephemera, print material, video, music, fashion, and photography — in the context of significant artistic and cultural movements: mail art and artist correspondences; the rise of Chicanx, LGBTQ, and feminist print media; the formation of alternative spaces; fashion culture; punk music and performance; and artistic responses to the AIDS crisis. As a result of thorough curatorial research, Axis Mundo marks the first historical consideration and significant showing of many of these pioneering artists’ work.
Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. is curated by C. Ondine Chavoya and David Evans Frantz as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an initiative of the Getty to encourage ambitious research and exhibitions at Southern California cultural institutions. The exhibition is organized by ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries in collaboration with The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and organized as a traveling exhibition by Independent Curators International (ICI). Lead support for Axis Mundo is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. This exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by The Calamus Foundation of New York, Inc., the City of West Hollywood through WeHo Arts—the City’s Arts Division and Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission, Kathleen Garfield, the ONE Archives Foundation, the USC Libraries, and the Luis Balmaseda Fund for Gay & Lesbian Archives, administered by the California Community Foundation. Funding for the exhibition tour has been provided by the generous support from ICI’s International Forum and the ICI Board of Trustees.
More information can be found on the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives website here.