preFAce | “the heArt hAS itS reASonS”
his a book about artists and three networks of so-
movements that emerged in North America in
the late 1960s: the student movement of 1968 and subse-
quent activist art collectives in Mexico City, a Zapotec in-
digenous struggle in Oaxaca, and the Chicano movement
in California. It explores the ways in which artists helped
shape the identities and visions of a generation of Mexican
and Chicano activists by creating new visual discourses. It
took me more than ten years to complete the research. Be-
tween 1998 and 2010, I interviewed more than forty people;
searched some thirty public and personal archives; visited
galleries, museums, and community art centers; and at-
tended related rallies, marches, conferences, lectures, and
exhibitions in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Juchitán, San Fran-
cisco, and Los Angeles.
However, my own political and intellectual relationship
with the movements explored in this book began decades
earlier. The Chicano student movement was at its height
when I started college in 1968, and the righteousness of its
cause, along with the deep personal friendships I devel-
oped with some of its leaders, led me to work over the years
with the United Farm Workers, Mexican immigrant rights
groups, and a variety of Chicano and Latino community or-
ganizations. Some of the leaders and militants of Mexico’s
1968 student movement who went on to found Organiza-
ción Revolucionaria Punto Crítico were among my most
influential political and intellectual mentors in the 1970s
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