The Hawn Gallery presents
Collective Practice: Community Building Through Zines
Works by Puro Chingón Collective
On view: October 20 – December 15, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, October 20th, 5-7pm
at the Hawn Gallery, located in the Hamon Arts Library at SMU
Artists Claudia Zapata, James Huizar, and Claudia Aparicio-Gamundi will conduct a gallery talk at the opening at 5:45 p.m.
Puro Chingón Collective is comprised of James Huizar, Claudia Zapata and Claudia Aparicio-Gamundi. The Collective formed after they began publishing their zine, ChingoZine, a publication dedicated to showing works by Latinx artists. Zines are short for magazines, but rather than ones seen on newsstands, they are noncommercial, homemade, or online publications containing subject matter that reflects the community in which they are created. The Collective’s practice is one rooted in social practice and engages with people in public spaces through murals, film screenings, and parties. The public events are largely hosted in Austin and focus on celebrating Latinx arts and culture through film screenings and interactive events. During the film events, members are given props so they can participate with movies such as Mi Vida Loca, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Selena.
In 2014 the collective organized the Pachanga Latino Music Festival where they debuted their line of “designer toys,” Chingolandia. Like the Collective’s zines, many of the toys exist in the permanent collections including the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin. It is important for the Collective that objects like zines typically considered ephemeral be collected and preserved.
During her time as a curator at the Mexic-Arte Museum (2010-2014), Zapata was approached by her co-worker Mark Aguilar who showed her an art zine, piquing her interest in creating her own publication. After seeing the wealth of art being shared between museum staff members, Zapapta and Aguilar saw the need for an informal place to display the work.
Zapata describes how the zine was not only a place to publish Latinx artwork, but also preserve it.
[ChingoZine] would be an informal arts space for ephemeral creations such as doodles, working sketches, and drawings. In this way the publication would serve as an alternative exhibition forum for Latino art. Although paper zines act as archival objects of a specific community, their DIY nature results in an ephemeral existence, often without archiving or self-reflection and analysis by their creators.
Community engagement and collaboration – both on a local and global scale – continue to be central to Puro Chingón’s practice. The Collective’s events and zine release parties are an integral part of their work as they create new spaces for the diverse community members who read and contribute to the zines to interact with one another. Such spaces also create new connections and collaborations between groups who might not otherwise gather in the same space. The exhibition’s inclusion of the Collective’s zines and visual art helps illustrate how the use of text and images act as a means to support, represent, and empower diverse groups.
The exhibition also highlights other zine makers working in a similar vein, bringing to light issues or subjects that resonate with them such as environmental justice, feminism, art and architecture, and LGBTQ rights.
Claudia Zapata is currently pursuing her PhD at SMU in the Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture Program in the Art History department. She received her BA from the University of Texas in Art History, specializing in Pre-Columbian and U.S. Latino/Chicano art. Zapata served as the Curator of Exhibitions from 2010-2014 at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin where she curated over 30 exhibitions that included themes on the commodification of the Day of the Dead holiday, Contemporary Chicano art and Mexican dance masks.
James Huizar is based in Austin. He studied Studio Art with a focus on illustration and printmaking at the University of Texas Austin. He has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions across Texas including the Young Latino Artists group. He was an artist in residence in the Serie Project 18, an 18-year retrospective on printmaking in Texas by Latino artists.
Claudia Aparicio-Gamundi is based in Austin. She studied Graphic Design at Austin Community College. She is the founder of Bodega Visual, a creative studio that designs promotional and event materials including apparel, website designs and wall graphics for art exhibitions. She began Chulita Vinyl Club in 2014, an all-female DJ collective for women of color with chapters in Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley in California.
Collective Practice: Community Building Through Zines will be on view until the end of the fall semester. The gallery is open daily, M-TH 8AM-9PM, F 8AM-6PM, Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 2PM-9PM and free to the public. For more information, please call 214-768-3813 or visit http://www.smu.edu/cul/hamon.
Curated by Emily Rueggeberg, Curatorial Fellow for the Hawn Gallery
Featured image: Chingolandia, courtesy of Puro Chingón Collective.
Blog post: Courtesy of Emily Rueggeberg, Curatorial Fellow for the Hawn Gallery, Hamon
 Zapata, Claudia. “Undocumented doodles, ‘Chola-fied fly girls’, and chingos of paper: the history and beginnings of ChingoZine.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, 42, no. 1 (2017): 217, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.