Southwest 'casta' paintings spotlight race, popular culture - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Southwest 'casta' paintings spotlight race, popular culture

Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The painting shows masked Mexican rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos in a purple three-piece suit, paired with Britney Spears in a Wonder Woman costume. Their child is a tiny albino Marcos, smoking a pipe and wearing a turban and mask of his own.

This is the psychedelic spin that 45-year-old border artist Claudio Dicochea gives to the colonial "casta" or caste paintings that were first created in 18th century Mexico as hierarchical classifications of various racial mixes among blacks, Indians and Spaniards.

In his "Acid Baroque" exhibit at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Dicochea takes viewers to the crossroad of colonialism and contemporary popular culture as he examines the idea of "mestizaje," or mixed-race identity. It's part of a program that showcases up-and-coming artists from Mexico and the American Southwest.

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