*slide show photos: Brown Style Promo image, Glasstire screen capture, Brown Style work in progress, Work in Progress for Brown Style by Kristin Ruda
There’s four more days to go for our Brown Style opening this Thursday Sept. 20th at Artpace. We are very excited and we are working very long hours on our individual works and our collective work. Some exciting news is that Sarah Fisch wrote a write up for Brown Style for the Fall Preview in Glasstire (scroll down)! So exciting, we even got to see our Family Portrait photo on the first page of the site when the story went up!! Sarah Fisch wrote a wonderful piece! Please check it out.
Brown Style, our Window Works title, was inspired by the article “Brown: The Politics of Working-Class Chicano Style” by Dr. Curtis Márez.1 Brown style is theorized and aesthetically articulated by Dr. Márez, and after we read this, it was a light bulb for our show.
In his article, Márez describes brown style to be a “critical discourse that simultaneously coun- ters Anglo repressions, opposes the white supremacist assumptions of highbrow taste, and affirms the qualities of Chicano difference” (109). I feel that each of these points are included in the list of reasons why we formed our Chicana art collective.
A big step in our collective process is discussion and therefore many discussions took place in conceptualizing the Artpace Window Works. Much of our discussions touched on the critical discourse that Márez explained in his article. We discussed the perceptions of chicana/o art, chicana/o art and its place in contemporary art, chicana/o art content and issues past and present, high art and low art, and how all these issues relate to our collective work. After many discussions about our place and purpose, we felt it was time for us to reflect on why we became a collective. Brown style is a sense of pride in the brown and rejects brown inferiority. Más Rudas is proud to be a Chicana art collective and we came together to make art that showcases our Chicana perspective.
Márez also aesthetically described contemporary popular brown style to be “the makeshift, the flamboyant, and the nostalgic” (121). As he described each point, every one seemed to speak to us and our work. For example, “one important form “making do” takes on is collage” (121). Márez goes on to describe why flamboyant in stating the ”Chicano aesthetic objects are elaborate, extravagant, excessive” (121). Plus “[b]rown style often looks backward, into the Chicano past” (123). Más Rudas aesthetic style is similar to the traits of brown style described by Márez. We are rasquache (make do), flamboyant and nostalgic in our collective work.
Once we agreed on a show theme, we agreed Márez’ brown style was the title of our upcoming exhibit. Plus the connotation of “brown” was so fitting for us since we are Chicanas, brown and proud!
1 Márez, Curtis. ”Brown: The Politics of Working-Class Chicano Style.” Social Text. 48 (1996): pp. 109 -132