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Ricardo Valverde

2013
Ricardo Valverde

Tracing the remarkable path of photographer Ricardo Valverde’s art and life

This book records the unfolding of photographer Ricardo Valverde’s vision, from his first photographs of L.A. streets as repositories of the city’s social history to his surrealist-inflected mixed-media work late in his career. Ramón García’s essay offers a framework for understanding Valverde’s art and life, along with a sense of the personal and social politics and history that influenced both.

Ramón García deftly writes Ricardo Valverde into the history of international photography from specific cultural locations. Valverde's fine art photographs generated scenes of Los Angles from the late 1960s to the late 1990s: east side family life, bohemian artistic circles, and the built environment of a major US city undergoing a transnational shift. García—a wordsmith of clarity and animated style—makes a convincing case.

Roberto Tejada, author of National Camera, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, and Full Foreground

At his untimely death in 1998, photographer Ricardo Valverde (b. 1946) had for almost three decades documented the various communities and social spaces of Los Angeles. Though he began this lifelong pursuit while still in college, capturing the streets of his South Central neighborhood and the urban landscape of downtown Los Angeles, it wasn’t until the Watts Riots of 1965 that Valverde and his work became deeply political. But if his work became more political, it did so within an aesthetic that grew ever more critical of the tropes and institutions of documentary art.

Featuring more than one hundred illustrations, this book—in the landmark A Ver: Revisioning Art History series—records the unfolding of Valverde’s vision, from his first photographs of L.A. streets as repositories of the city’s social history, to his socially and politically acute portraiture, to his surrealist-inflected mixed-media work late in his career, to his role in the formation of the community-based arts groups Self-Help Graphics & Art, Ojos, and Chicano Art Collectors Anonymous. Ramón García’s essay offers a clear framework for understanding Valverde’s art and life, along with a sense of the personal and social politics and history that influenced both so thoroughly.

Awards

2014 International Latino Book Awards - Honorable Mention, Best Arts Book

2014 International Latino Book Awards - 2nd Place, Best First Book/Nonfiction (English)

2014 International Latino Book Awards - 2nd Place, Best Latino-Focused Book/Nonfiction (English)

Ricardo Valverde

Ramón García is associate professor in the Chicano/a Studies department at California State University, Northridge.

Ricardo Valverde

While well researched and scholarly, García offers what can only be called an enthralling narrative that puts Valverde’s work and development as an artist in historical and artistic context while painting a moving portrait of who Valverde was as a man, husband, father, and activist.

Los Angeles Review of Books

Ramón García’s exhaustively researched book is a testament to the artistic and political life of Ricardo Valverde and the other Chicana/o artists who documented Los Angeles during the 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s. Often overlooked or—worse yet—dismissed by academic and artistic institutions alike during his lifetime, García has succeeded in making Valverde’s legacy impossible to diminish or ignore.

Daniel Olivas, La Bloga

Ramón García deftly writes Ricardo Valverde into the history of international photography from specific cultural locations. Valverde's fine art photographs generated scenes of Los Angles from the late 1960s to the late 1990s: east side family life, bohemian artistic circles, and the built environment of a major US city undergoing a transnational shift. García—a wordsmith of clarity and animated style—makes a convincing case.

Roberto Tejada, author of National Camera, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, and Full Foreground

Ricardo Valverde

Chapter 1: Portrait of the Artist
Chapter 2: Street Photography
Chapter 3: Portraiture
Chapter 4: Documenting Community
Chapter 5: Coda: Experimental Work