Subculture: ASCO. The 70's Chicano Art Movement

In the 1970's, an art movement in East Los Angeles ignited the Chicano community during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. ASCO, which means nausea in Spanish, was an activist art movement that would be the first to present the wide ranging work of strong political chicano art. Nausea, which is the english translation of their group name, was picked due to the unfriendly responses to their art, outfits, and ideas that provoked the outer society. The 'disgust' they found would become their trademark name.

These artists would test the limits of the government, the Los Angeles community, and challenge museums that criticized Chicano art as not being prestigious enough. All started by Henry Gamboa Jr. with his partners in crime, Gronk, Willie Herron and Patssi Valdez who all attended Garfield High School in East Los Angeles.  ASCO became the first to ever exhibit Chicano art at the very famous LACMA. This all started when ASCO found out that not a single Chicano or Mexican artist had no display of their art in any of LACMA's exhibits.


When Gamboa asked the Curator at LACMA for the reason of no chicano art, the curator responded, "‘Well, Chicanos don’t make art, they join gangs.’ And then he sipped his drink."This ignited a flame in Gamboa, so he spray painted all over the museum entrances to make his point proven. ASCO eventually disbanded in the 80's, but their impact in the Los Angeles community will live forever.