In the 1970s, Mexican-born Carlos Almaraz catalyzed Los Angeles’ Chicano street art movement, infusing cultural activism into his seemingly subdued paintings of Southern California landscapes marred by fires, car crashes and other disasters. Almaraz grew up in Chicago and East Los Angeles and became involved in social justice issues such as Cesar Chavez’s labor advocacy. The themes in his art also permeate his writing; he produced dozens of volumes of poetry and philosophy. Almaraz, whose paintings are installed in galleries worldwide, died in 1989 at age 48.
Image caption: Carlos Almaraz, Car Crash (Wipe-Out on Pacific Coast Highway), 1984, oil on canvas, The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum of California Art, © The Carlos Almaraz Estate 2018