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    Ground view of the National Gallery's glass pyramids looking towards the East Building

    Research Reports

    Angélica Becerra
    Center 43

    Angélica Becerra

    Miramé: Portraiture as a Practice of Working-Class Aesthetics in Latinx Art

    During this past year at the Center, I have focused on developing a chapter from my dissertation into a scholarly article titled “Miramé: Portraiture as a Practice of Working-Class Aesthetics in Latinx Art.” This article focuses on the self-portrait and advocates for the radical potential of contemporary portraiture made and shared by Latinx “artivists.” In particular, the work of Julio Salgado strategically uses portraiture to uplift the likenesses of marginalized individuals, as well as to inscribe class politics into his portrait work. Traditionally a medium that was employed by wealthy elites as a status symbol, I argue that Latinx artivists mobilize portraiture in a 21st-century digital landscape to showcase bodies outside of the normative beauty standards of society at large; concomitantly, their work deploys an iconography of the Latinx working class in the American Southwest. My work was supported by Toward Equity in Publishing, a professional development program provided by American Art, a journal copublished by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and University of Chicago Press.

    In addition to this work, I have balanced an engaged art practice with my scholarship. Earlier last year, my print 1-800-PAY-A-FEMME—a 15-color serigraph I produced as part of the Queerida Atelier at Self Help Graphics & Art in Los Angeles—was acquired by the Library of Congress. I organized a tour with Center fellows and staff to the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, where curator Katherine Blood guided us through recent acquisitions, including my print, and explained the division’s role in preserving art of cultural significance for the nation. 

    Tour of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Madison Building, March 2023