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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego to Move Forward with Exhibition of Chicanx Artist Yolanda López

Yolanda López Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe, 1978, Oil pastel on rag paper, 30 x 22 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

In a creative pivot in response to the Covid-19 epidemic, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego announced plans to move forward with public programs for the exhibitionYolanda López: Portrait of the Artist. This will be the first solo museum presentation of one of the most important Chicano/a/x artists working in California over the past five decades.

The exhibition will present a compendium of López’s work from the 1970s and early 80s, when she created a vivid body of paintings, drawings, and collages that reimagine representations of women within Chicano/a/x culture and mainstream society. In addition, on July 16 the Museum will launch online programming related to themes of Chicanx, Latinx, and Border Art in its permanent collection, held in conjunction with the virtual exhibition To Tame a Wild Tongue: Art after Chicanismo.

MCASD had planned to present Yolanda López: Portrait of the Artist centered on the activist artist in the fall of 2020 at its Downtown San Diego location. Although the physical exhibition must be postponed until 2022, when it will be presented at MCASD’s expanded La Jolla location, the Museum is now developing programs to be debuted online later this fall and winter.

The virtual public programs will include video interviews with the artist; a behind-the-scenes look at the conservation of López’s work at Zukor Art Conservation in Oakland; an Outside Perspective panel of artists and scholars hosted remotely; and a Curator’s Perspective talk by exhibition curator Jill Dawsey, among others.

“While we eagerly await the exhibition of physical objects and the opportunity to welcome museum lovers back to our galleries, these online programs will allow MCASD to celebrate the life and work of this important San Diego-born artist in the here and now,” explained Dawsey.

López was born and raised in the Logan Heights neighborhood of San Diego and attended San Diego State University and UC San Diego. In 1961 she moved to San Francisco, where she continues to live and work. Recognized as an icon of the Chicano Art Movement, López has nonetheless remained largely underrecognized by museums and the contemporary art world.

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