From left: Lauren Zelaya, Aldo Hernandez, J. Soto, Alexandro Segade and Simon Doonan.

Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. is the first exhibition of its kind to excavate histories of experimental art practice, collaboration, and exchange by a group of Los Angeles based queer Chicanx artists between the late 1960s and early 1990s. To highlight the New York iteration of Axis Mundo, Visual AIDS and the Hunter College Art Galleries hosted a guided talk and tour with an intergenerational group of creatives who knew artists highlighted in the exhibition or have been influenced by the artworks included in the show.

The Talk + Tour of this landmark exhibition, curated by C. Ondine Chavoya and David Evans Frantz, centered the work of artists lost to AIDS-related complications with reflections by Simon Doonan on Mundo Meza (1955–1985) and Aldo Hernandez on Ray Navarro (1964–1990). To explore the intersections of art, AIDS and activism in the exhibition, the tour also included comments by J. Soto on Judy Miranda, Lauren Argentina Zelaya on Laura Aguilar (1959–2018) & Judith F. Baca and Alexandro Segade on Joey Terrill.

As noted in the AIDS Activism(s) section of the exhibition: “The devastation of the AIDS epidemic was acutely felt by intersecting Latinx and queer artist communities. In the face of government neglect, many artists politicized their practices, often taking inspiration from their earlier participation in gay and lesbian and Chicano rights movements. Working within community and advocacy groups, artists sought to raise awareness and educate through quickly produced and accessible mediums such as video and print material. Many artists memorialized those lost to the disease, while others took up their own mortality and disability as content for their work through abstraction and conceptual distance.”

Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. was first presented last fall at the ONE Gallery, West Hollywood, and MOCA Pacific Design Center for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, and the traveling exhibition tour is organized by Independent Curators International (ICI).

Ray Navarro