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Guide to the Yolanda M. Lopez Papers
CEMA 11  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Yolanda M. Lopez Papers
    Collection number: CEMA 11
    Creator: Lopez, Yolanda M.
    Extent: 1.5 linear feet (3 hollinger boxes, 1 oversize portfolio box, 1 flat file portfolio box of silkscreen prints)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated by Yolanda Lopez, December 12, 1996


    Selected correspondence files which are sensitive in nature will remain confidential until 2027.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright resides with donor

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Yolanda M. Lopez Papers, CEMA 11, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.


    Yolanda Lopez was born in San Diego, California in 1942. As the eldest daughter of three, she was raised by her mother and her mother's parents in the Logan Heights neighborhood.
    After graduating high school, Lopez moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and in 1968 became part of the San Francisco State University Third World Strike. She also worked as a community artist in the Mission District with a group called Los Siete de la Raza. Since that point she has viewed her work as an artist as a tool for political and social change and sees herself as an artistic provocateur.
    In 1975 Lopez received her B.A. in Painting and Drawing from San Diego State University and in 1979 went on to get her Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from the University of California San Diego. As a visual artist, she is best known for her groundbreaking Virgin of Guadalupe series, an investigation of the Virgin of Guadalupe as an influential female icon. Classically trained as an artisan, her work has expanded into installation, video and slide presentations. Her video, Images of Mexicans in the Media, has toured internationally and is collected in university libraries nationally. Her media series, Cactus Hearts/Barbed Wire Dreams, has comprised numerous installations, including Things I Never Told My Son About Being a Mexican, an installation that explores identity, assimilation, and cultural change. The series was part of the major traveling exhibition "La Frontera/The Border: Art About the Mexico/United States Border Experience." A recent project, Woman's Work Is Never Done, includes a series of prints, as well as the installation The Nanny, which explores the invisibility of immigrant women as domestic workers. The installation was showcased in the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art's exhibition "Mirror, Mirror...Gender Roles and the Historical Significance of Beauty."
    As a scholar as well as an artist, Lopez has taught studio classes and has lectured on contemporary Chicano art at the University of California at Berkeley and San Diego. Lopez has produced a video, "When You Think of Mexico," on the topic of cultural stereotypes in print and electronic media, and has presented the video and accompanying lecture throughout the West. "It is important for us to be visually literate; it is a survival skill," Lopez states strongly. "The media is what passes for culture in contemporary U.S. society, and it is extremely powerful. It is crucial that we systematically explore the cultural mis-definition of Mexicans and Latin Americans that is presented in the media."

    Scope and Content

    The contents of the Yolanda M. Lopez Papers are comprised of both personal and professional materials generated by the artist during the period 1961-1998. The bulk of the collection consists of incoming personal correspondence from family members and fellow artists. This includes a large body of correspondence from Analee Lively, Lopez's half-sister, and another large amount from Rene Yañez, with whom Lopez has maintained a relationship since the late 1970s. The second largest component of the collection, the Biographical/Professional Activities series, contains a history of Lopez's professional development through clippings of media mentions, announcement cards and posters for her exhibits and lectures, and various miscellaneous files and clippings that relate to her work. The collection also includes several original silkscreens and offset posters, a number of slides, a personal diary with irregular entries spanning from 1976-1979, and two video cassettes featuring Lopez. The greatest strengths of the collection are the insight it gives into Lopez's personal and family life (especially in the late 1960s and 1970s), and the record it provides of her professional development and achievements.

    Related Collections

    • The video, "When You Think of Mexico: Commercial Images of Mexicans," written and produced by Yolanda Lopez (1986; running time 28 minutes; color; in stereo), is part of the media collections in the Curriculum
    • Laboratory of the Davidson Library. It has the following call number: P94.5 M45 L6, 1986.
    • In addition, two video collections within CEMA contain video materials pertaining to Lopez.
    • In the Artistas Chicanas Symposium Collection, tape one (call number: 6538.M4 A76 1991a) features Lopez talking about the Virgin of Guadalupe series and other well known works.
    • The Califas Collection (call number: E184.M5 C2995 1986) also contains extensive video footage pertaining to Chicano art in California.