Rasquache is a Spanish word with etymological roots in Nahuatl, the indigenous language of the Aztec culture. Historically in Mexico, it was a slur that connotes lower-class or peasant attitudes and beliefs, especially as it pertains to aesthetics and visual culture. Like poor and working-class people everywhere, lower-class Mexicans’ visual culture is one of bricolage, of using what is freely available to make do. For art-theorist Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, however, working in the context of Chicano arts practices that celebrate Mexican heritage within the United States, the celebration of Rasquache as the specifically Chicano/a practices of creating a visual culture out of the freely available bits of cast-offs and leftovers serves to highlight the incredible creative resources of such communities in the face of adversity (see Tomás Ybarra-Frausto on “Rasquachismo” — https://vimeo.com/27727487 ). Link (Links to an external site.)
As concerns metal sculpture specifically, the notion of Rasquachismo relates closely to the variety of additive techniques that welding made possible during the 20th century. What distinguishes Rasquachismo from the variety of additive/assemblage processes that surface in modern art history is that rasquache is specifically associated with the creative manner in which poor folks use what they have to make things work.
In that sense, Rasquachismo presents a subversive threat to the history of fine art, bound up in notions of uselessness and beauty, which Rasquache tends to undermine through “beautifully” idiosyncratic and visually creative techniques to make things useful again.
After saying all that… here is your assignment.
Rasquache art is all around us. Your task is to find three images of Rasquache art in your community. Once you selected three pieces of Rasquache art, you need to answer the following questions. Submit your 3 images in the discussion board, or you can email them to me.
( You need to be descriptive with your answers)
1. Where was the Rasquache art located (Ex. Valley Glen, etc.)?
2. Why did you select these pieces?
3. Have you ever expressed your sense of Raquachismo?
4. According to the video on Rasquache art (in Module 4), what do you think qualifies your 3 pieces of art as Rasquache art?
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