Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987

BCAM, Level 2
September 4, 2011–December 4, 2011

Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987 is the first retrospective to present the wide-ranging work of the Chicano performance and conceptual art group Asco. Asco (1972–1987) began as a tight-knit core group of artists from East Los Angeles composed of Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón, and Patssi Valdez. Taking their name from the forceful Spanish word for disgust and nausea, Asco used performance, public art, and multimedia to respond to social and political turbulence in Los Angeles and beyond. ASCO remained active until the mid-1980s, contracting and expanding to include Diane Gamboa, Sean Carrillo, Daniel J. Martinez, and Teddy Sandoval, among others. Hear interviews with members of ASCO, below.

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Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together to tell the story of the birth of the LA art scene. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months beginning October 2011. Sponsors

The exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Williams College Museum of Art. It is made possible in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts, Inc., the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Image: Asco, Instant Mural, (detail) 1974, courtesy Harry Gamboa, © Asco, photo © 1974 Harry Gamboa, Jr.

1974/printed 2011
Walking Mural
1972/printed 2011
First Supper After a Major Riot
1974/printed 2011
X's Party
1983/reconstructed 2011

Asco’s No Movies

Chismearte: What is a No-Movie? Gamboa: It is perceiving life within a cinemagraphic context. Gronk: It is thinking of life before the advent of a view finder. It is projecting the real by rejecting the reel. As we usher in the last month of the exhibition Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective 19721987, two of our upcoming exhibition-related public programs will focus on the role of movies—and “No Movies”—in Asco’s oeuvre. This Friday I will be joined by filmmaker and scholar Jesse Lerner for Asco: Chicano Cinema and Agnes Varda’s Mur Murs...

East of No West: Willie Herrón

In conjunction with the exhibition Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 19721987, Willie Herrón is creating a mural in the alley at City Terrace Drive, behind the Alvarez Bakery (near Carmelita). Herrón has a history with this alley. He was born and grew up in East Los Angeles...