Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. maps the intersections among a network of queer Chicanx artists and their artistic collaborators from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. This was an era of tumultuous and inspiring political activism, from the emergence of the Chicano civil rights, women’s, and gay liberation movements to the political activism around the AIDS epidemic. These struggles galvanized many of these artists, whose work often explored sexuality, community, and social identity.
Artists in Axis Mundo experimented across a wide variety of media, including painting, performance, photography, video, fashion, music, and mail art. Collaboration was central to these artists, who came together to form collectives, establish arts venues, and experiment with new social and aesthetic possibilities. While many were close collaborators, not all of these artists worked together. Both direct and indirect connections led to shared content and affiliated aesthetic strategies. Although this network was centered in Los Angeles, many of the artists participated in other artistic scenes, both nationally and internationally. Collectively, these practices constituted a form of queer worldmaking.
Axis Mundo takes its title in deference to the artist Edmundo “Mundo” Meza, who was renowned among his peers and died from AIDS in 1985. Like many of the artists in this exhibition, his work has been rarely seen. Axis Mundo marks the first historical examination of artwork by queer Chicanx artists.
Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. is organized by C. Ondine Chavoya, Professor of Art and Latina/o Studies at Williams College, and David Evans Frantz, Associate Curator at the Palm Springs Art Museum.