Ruben Charles Cordova
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About Ruben Charles Cordova
Ruben C. Cordova is an art historian, curator, and photographer. He holds a BA from Brown University (Semiotics) and a PhD from UC Berkeley (History of Art). Cordova has taught courses treating Art History, Film, and Museum Studies at UC Berkeley, UT Pan American, UT San Antonio, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Houston. He has curated more than 30 exhibitions. As a photographer, his primary interest is Day of the Dead and his work has been featured in more than 40 exhibitions, including the solo show Besos de la Muerte (Kisses of Death). Cordova has written or contributed to 19 catalogues and books (see bibliography listed below). His Con Safo: The Chicano Art Group and the Politics of South Texas (2009), the first book written on a Chicano art group, received honorable mention at the 12th Annual International Latino Book Awards (2010). For San Antonio's tricentennial in 2018, Cordova curated The Other Side of the Alamo: Art Against the Myth (Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center) and American History Does Not Begin with the White Man (Bihl Haus). He is a regular contributor to the online journal Glasstire.
The Day of the Dead in Art. San Antonio: Centro de Artes, Department of Arts and Culture, 2019.
The Other Side of the Alamo: Art Against the Myth. San Antonio: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 2018.
American History Does Not Begin with the White Man: Indigenous Themes in the Work of Mel Casas. San Antonio: Bihl Haus, 2018.
Mexico in San Francisco: Works on Paper by Mexican Masters From Diego Rivera to Alejandro Santiago (on-line catalog). San Francisco: Mexican Museum, 2017.
Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: A Retrospective, 1982-2014. San Antonio: Centro de Artes, Department of Arts and Culture, 2017.
Figure Drawings from a Fiery Genius: José Clemente Orozco’s Studies in the Michael Wornick Collection. Online catalog essay, San Jose Museum of Art, 2015
"Getting the Big Picture: Political Themes in the Humanscapes of Mel Casas, 1968 - 1977," and "A Conversation with Mel Casas and Ruben C. Cordova," in Víctor A. Sorell and Scott L. Baugh, eds., Born of Resistance: Cara a Cara Encounters with Chicana/o Visual Culture. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2015: 158-167; 172-189.
"Gaspar Enriquez's 'La Rosa Dolorosa de mi Vida Loca,'" in Christian A. Gerstheimer, et al, Gaspar Enriquez: Metaphors of El Barrio. El Paso: El Paso Museum of Art, 2014: 50-55.
"Mestizaje, mexicanidad, y arte neomexicanist y chicano," in Luis Miguel Leon and Josefa Ortega ¿Neomexicanismos? Ficciones identitarias del México de los ochenta. Mexico City: Museo Moderno, 2011: 29-55.
"Latinos, Anglo-Saxons, and Racial Mixing," in Ruben C. Cordova, ed., La Lengua Muerta. Houston: blurb/Gulf Coast Art Corridor/labotanica, 2010: 28-35; contributed photographs: 4, 12, 22, 24, 28, 36, 45, 58.
"Indigenous Heritage, Culinary Diaspora, and Globalization in Rolando Briseño's Moctezuma's Table," in Norma E. Cantú, ed., Moctezuma's Table: Rolando Briseno's Mexican and Chicano Tablescapes. College Station: Texas A & M Press, 2010: 68 - 91.
Con Safo: The Chicano Art Group and the Politics of South Texas: Los Angeles: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2009.
"Nuestras Culturas, Nuestra Pintura, Nuestra Tierra," [short entry on this mural] in Annice Jacoby, ed., Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo. New York: Abrams: 2009: 244; contributed photographs: 90, 244, 286.
"Baca, Judith," "Calaveras," "Charlot, Jean," "Con Safo," "Goldman, Shifra," "Posada, José Guadalupe," "Quirarte, Jancinto," "Ramírez, Martín," "Rivera, Diego," "Ybarra-Frausto, Tomás," in Ilan Stavans, ed. in chief, and Harold Augenbraum, assoc. ed., Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society in the United States. Danbury, Conn.: Grolier Academic Reference, 2005, 4 vols.: I: 170 - 171; I: 248 - 249; I: 294 - 295; I: 380 - 381; II: 258 - 259; III: 393 - 395; III: 443 - 444; IV: 16 - 17; IV: 38 - 40; IV: 294 - 295.
"Conrad Wise Chapman and Mexico," in Conrad Wise Chapman, Mexican Light, 1865-1910. New York Galeria Ramis Barquet, 2005 (unpaginated).
Arte Caliente: Selections from the Joe A. Diaz Collection. Corpus Christi: South Texas Institute for the Arts, 2004. Also traveled to the National Hispanic Center, Albuquerque, the San Jose (CA) Museum of Art, and the Museum of Art, Fort Wayne (IN).
"Representing the Body: The Michael Wornick Collection of Latin American Art," in The Human Figure in Twentieth Century Latin American Art: Selections from the Michael Wornick Collection. San Rafael: Dominican College, 1998: 5 - 12.
"The Valley of Mexico: From Natural Splendor to Nationalist Symbol," in Judith Dunham, ed., Conrad Wise Chapman: The Valley of Mexico. San Diego: The Timken Museum of Art, 1997: 19 - 25 (English); 26 - 32 (Spanish).
"Introduction," in Joe P. Carr and Karen Witynski, Mexican Country Style. Salt Lake City: Gibbs-Smith Publishers, 1997: viii-ix.
Titles By Ruben Charles Cordova
If Chicana/o culture was born of resistance amid assimilation and nationalistic forces, how has it evolved into the twenty-first century? This groundbreaking volume redresses the central idea of resistance in Chicana/o visual cultural expression through nine clustered discussions, each coordinating scholarly, critical, curatorial, and historical contextualizations alongside artist statements and interviews. Landmark artistic works—illustrations, paintings, sculpture, photography, film, and television—anchor each section. Contributors include David Avalos, Mel Casas, Ester Hernández, Nicholas Herrera, Luis Jiménez, Ellen Landis, Yolanda López, Richard Lou, Delilah Montoya, Laura Pérez, Lourdes Portillo, Luis Tapia, Chuy Treviño, Willie Varela, Kathy Vargas, René Yañez, Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, and more. Cara a cara, face-to-face, encounters across the collection reveal the varied richness of resistant strategies, movidas, as they position crucial terms of debate surrounding resistance, including subversion, oppression, affirmation, and identification.
The essays in the collection represent a wide array of perspectives on Chicana/o visual culture. Editors Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell have curated a dialog among the many voices, creating an important new volume that redefines the role of resistance in Chicana/o visual arts and cultural expression.