Scope and Content
Title: Yolanda M. Lopez Papers
Collection number: CEMA 11
Lopez, Yolanda M.
1.5 linear feet (3 hollinger boxes, 1 oversize portfolio box, 1 flat file portfolio
box of silkscreen prints)
University of California, Santa Barbara. Library.
California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Donated by Yolanda Lopez, December 12, 1996
Selected correspondence files which are sensitive in nature will remain confidential until 2027.
Copyright resides with donor
[Identification of item], Yolanda M. Lopez Papers, CEMA 11, Department of Special
Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Yolanda Lopez was born in San Diego, California in 1942. As the eldest daughter of three, she was raised by her
mother and her mother's parents in the Logan Heights neighborhood.
After graduating high school, Lopez moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and in 1968 became part of the San
Francisco State University Third World Strike. She also worked as a community artist in the Mission District with a
group called Los Siete de la Raza. Since that point she has viewed her work as an artist as a tool for political and
social change and sees herself as an artistic provocateur.
In 1975 Lopez received her B.A. in Painting and Drawing from San Diego State University and in 1979 went on
to get her Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from the University of California San Diego. As a visual artist, she is
best known for her groundbreaking Virgin of Guadalupe series, an investigation of the Virgin of Guadalupe as an
influential female icon. Classically trained as an artisan, her work has expanded into installation, video and slide
presentations. Her video, Images of Mexicans in the Media, has toured internationally and is collected in university
libraries nationally. Her media series, Cactus Hearts/Barbed Wire Dreams, has comprised numerous installations,
including Things I Never Told My Son About Being a Mexican, an installation that explores identity, assimilation,
and cultural change. The series was part of the major traveling exhibition "La Frontera/The Border: Art About the
Mexico/United States Border Experience." A recent project, Woman's Work Is Never Done, includes a series of
prints, as well as the installation The Nanny, which explores the invisibility of immigrant women as domestic
workers. The installation was showcased in the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art's exhibition "Mirror,
Mirror...Gender Roles and the Historical Significance of Beauty."
As a scholar as well as an artist, Lopez has taught studio classes and has lectured on contemporary Chicano art
at the University of California at Berkeley and San Diego. Lopez has produced a video, "When You Think of
Mexico," on the topic of cultural stereotypes in print and electronic media, and has presented the video and
accompanying lecture throughout the West. "It is important for us to be visually literate; it is a survival skill," Lopez
states strongly. "The media is what passes for culture in contemporary U.S. society, and it is extremely powerful. It
is crucial that we systematically explore the cultural mis-definition of Mexicans and Latin Americans that is
presented in the media."
Scope and Content
The contents of the Yolanda M. Lopez Papers are comprised of both personal and professional materials
generated by the artist during the period 1961-1998. The bulk of the collection consists of incoming personal
correspondence from family members and fellow artists. This includes a large body of correspondence from Analee
Lively, Lopez's half-sister, and another large amount from Rene Yañez, with whom Lopez has maintained a
relationship since the late 1970s. The second largest component of the collection, the Biographical/Professional
Activities series, contains a history of Lopez's professional development through clippings of media mentions,
announcement cards and posters for her exhibits and lectures, and various miscellaneous files and clippings that
relate to her work. The collection also includes several original silkscreens and offset posters, a number of slides, a
personal diary with irregular entries spanning from 1976-1979, and two video cassettes featuring Lopez. The
greatest strengths of the collection are the insight it gives into Lopez's personal and family life (especially in the late
1960s and 1970s), and the record it provides of her professional development and achievements.
- The video, "When You Think of Mexico: Commercial Images of Mexicans," written and produced by Yolanda Lopez (1986; running
time 28 minutes; color; in stereo), is part of the media collections in the Curriculum
- Laboratory of the Davidson Library. It has the following call number: P94.5 M45 L6, 1986.
- In addition, two video collections within CEMA contain video materials pertaining to Lopez.
- In the Artistas Chicanas Symposium Collection, tape one (call number: 6538.M4 A76 1991a) features Lopez talking about the
Virgin of Guadalupe series and other well known works.
- The Califas Collection (call number: E184.M5 C2995 1986) also contains extensive video footage pertaining to Chicano art in