Alumnus Rupert García Speaks at Smithsonian American Art Museum

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

HYPERALLERGIC -- Yet the exhibition’s title is a bit disingenuous. More accurate than Artists Respond would be Artists Reject, as no work in the exhibition promoting involvement in Vietnam is on view. So it was interesting to hear symposium speaker Rupert García, revered as a founder of San Francisco’s Galería de la Raza, recount that as a young Air Force recruit he had volunteered to serve in Southeast Asia and from there requested to shoot traitors of war.

Following his honorable discharge, study at San Francisco State College and participation in the Chicano Art Movement, García designed the striking poster in this show to support the National Chicano Moratorium. Addressing the disproportionate number of Mexican Americans serving in the war, the exclamation on it, and its title, ¡Fuera de Indochina!, literally urges “get out.” Above it, the Chicano’s facial expression shifts between pain and provocation, stirringly coalescing historical sources of antagonistic social and political discord now again familiar.