Pioneering art historian Shifra Goldman brought the study of Chicana/o and contemporary Latin American art to the notice of art history. She was determined to correct the stereotypes that had distorted the critical reception of Chicana/o and Latina/o art since the 1950s. This collection of essays, edited and introduced by Charlene Villaseñor Black, not only represents her groundbreaking scholarship but also reflects her political activism. In these writings Goldman considers important theoretical issues, including how the Chicano movement influenced and was influenced by artists in the Southwest and Mexico and how different artistic visions clashed and interacted. She also investigates the careers of major Chicana/o artists, discusses specific series of artworks, and analyzes exhibitions, beginning with the historic Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, which opened in Los Angeles in 1990 and then traveled cross-country, closing in Washington, DC, in 1993. Many of the illustrations have not been widely reproduced, adding to the importance of this collection.
Shifra Meyerowitz Goldman graduated from the High School of Music and Art before moving to Los Angeles with her family in the 1940s. She attended UCLA as a studio art major, but left before completing her degree and soon became immersed in the Chicano civil rights movement. She returned to UCLA as an undergraduate in 1963, then earned a master's degree in 1966 and a PhD from UCLA in 1977. Among her publications are Contemporary Mexican Painting in a Time of Change and Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin America and the United States. She died in Los Angeles on September 11, 2011. Charlene Villaseñor Black is associate professor of art history at UCLA. Her book, Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire, won the College Art Association Millard Meiss Award.