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Guide to the Yolanda M. Lopez Papers CEMA 11
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Provenance
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Content
  • Series Description
  • Related Collections

  • Title: Yolanda M. Lopez papers
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 11
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 8.5 linear feet (19 boxes: 18 document boxes, 1 oversize portfolio box and posters)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1961-1998
    Date (inclusive): 1961-2007
    General Physical Description note: 1.5 linear feet (3 hollinger boxes, 1 oversize portfolio box, 1 flat file portfolio box of silkscreen prints)
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    creator: Lopez, Yolanda M., 1942-


    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."


    Selected correspondence files which are sensitive in nature will remain confidential until 2027.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright resides with donor


    Donated by Yolanda Lopez, December 12, 1996

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Yolanda M. Lopez Papers, CEMA 11, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    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.

    Series Description

    Series I: Correspondence - Incoming 1961-1995 This series is arranged alphabetically according to correspondent, then chronologically, and is divided into personal and professional correspondence. A large portion of the personal correspondence is from Lopez's half- sister, Analee Lively, who wrote regularly from 1962-1995. A similarly large amount of correspondence (spanning from 1978-1994) is from Rene Yañez, a Chicano artist with whom Lopez has maintained a close relationship. The latter is of a personal nature and, to ensure the privacy of the persons involved, has been designated confidential for the time being at the request of the donor. These files will be unrestricted in the year 2027. Other correspondents of note include:
    • Nesbit Crutchfield, who wrote to Lopez during his two years of incarceration in 1968-70;
    • Countes [sic] Cuchita, who claimed to be Lopez's sister, and Mortimer Lopez, Lopez's father;
    • David Avalos, a Chicano artist with whom Lopez had a close relationship for several years;
    • and Graciela Carrillo, a fellow artist and personal friend who, along with Lopez, was one of the Mujeres Muralistas.
    Series II: Biographical/Professional Activities This series is arranged chronologically and contains primarily literature related to Lopez's participation in exhibitions and other professional activities. This includes flyers and announcements for exhibitions and conferences, as well as articles from magazines and newspapers regarding Lopez's work and Chicana art in general. Lopez's personal biography and an Artist Statement dated 1998 can be found in box 4, folder 1. Note also that there are very informative newspaper/magazine interviews and clippings relating to Lopez's professional activities in the Oversize series (series V)
    Series III: Photography-Slides The slides contained within this series are a sampling of some of Lopez's better-known works. Subjects represented include:
    • The Virgin of Guadalupe series
    • A Woman's Work Is Never Done series
    • Cactus Hearts/Barbed Wire Dreams series
    The Miscellaneous slides include selections from the Things I Never Told My Son About Being a Mexican series, the Three Generations Tres Mujeres series, and slides of individual works such as Who's the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?, La Mano Mas Poderosa (The Most Powerful Hand), Mexican Chair, Rio's World, and others.
    Series IV: Video and Audio This series contains three videotapes and audio files from Yolandas. There is a tape contains an interview with Lopez focused on the making of the Guadalupe series; and a tape, entitled "Women of the Vanguard," contains original footage of a protest at the Galeria de La Raza in which Lopez took part. When she was a visiting artist at CEMA her she gave a presentation in 2007 which was recorded. There is also a powerpoint and audio files of the same event. Cristina Serna interviewed her at the same visit and these audio files are part of the collection.
    Series V: Oversize This series contains miscellaneous oversized items arranged chronologically, including a photograph of Lopez, newspapers, programs and fliers related to her professional activities, and several pieces of oversize correspondence from David Avalos and Analee Lively. Of particular interest is the Winter/Spring, 1995 issue of Venceremos which features an excellent interview with Lopez discussing much of her most well-known work (box 5, folder 1). Items are arranged chronologically.
    Series VI: Graphic Arts This series contains 15 silkscreen and offset posters by Lopez, as well as four iris prints of Lopez's work. Included in the posters are several of her well-known works, including Who's the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?, A Woman's Work Is Never Done, Things I Never Told My Son About Being a Mexican, and others. The prints are arranged according to record number.

    Related Collections

    1. 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
    2. Laboratory of the Davidson Library. It has the following call number: P94.5 M45 L6, 1986.
    3. In addition, two video collections within CEMA contain video materials pertaining to Lopez.
    4. 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.
    5. The Califas Collection (call number: E184.M5 C2995 1986) also contains extensive video footage pertaining to Chicano art in California.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    American literature -- Hispanic American authors
    Art, American -- California -- 20th century
    Art, Modern -- 20th century -- California -- Los Angeles
    Mexican American art -- 20th century
    Mexican American artists
    Mexican American artists -- California
    Mexican American neighborhoods -- Fiction
    Mexican American women
    Mexican American women authors
    Mexican Americans -- California -- East Los Angeles
    Mexican Americans -- Civil rights
    Mexican Americans in literature