Urban Exile: Collected Writings Of Harry Gamboa Jr.

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9780816630523: Urban Exile: Collected Writings Of Harry Gamboa Jr.
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The art of Harry Gamboa Jr. encompasses photography, video, performance, installation, essays, fiction, poetry, and lesser-known forms of his own creation.

Working in the tradition of Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett, Gamboa has pioneered multimedia formats for nearly three decades, setting a precedent for the work of artists such as Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, and Daniel J. Martinez. Urban Exile gathers Gamboa's diverse creations in a visually compelling collection that reveals a rich vein of Chicano avant-garde production reaching back to the early 1970s.

Gamboa was a founding member of Asco (1972-1987), the East L.A. multimedia art group that critically satirized high art and cinema while parodying the utopian nationalism of the Chicano Arts Movement. Urban Exile comprises works Gamboa created with Asco as well as solo efforts -- Mexican fotonovelas rewritten as performance pieces, mail art, No Movies (images presented as stills from nonexistent movies). Firmly grounded in the megalopolis of Los Angeles, these texts present a unique perspective on the bizarre racialized and class-stratified fabric of that city -- the "urban desert in ruins".

Gamboa's work is crucial to an understanding not only of Chicano art but also of the post-1968 avant-garde in the United States; he consistently debunks traditional categories, creates innovative alternatives, and reveals a history rendered invisible by the dominant art institutions and media industries. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes dreamlike, always unexpected, these texts present a compelling critique of urban life at the end of the millennium and are essential reading for all "orphans of modernism".

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About the Author:

Gamboa's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution, the Whitney Biennial, and the Robert Flaherty Seminar.

Noriega is an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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