The year was 1976. Queer, Chicanx artist Joey Terrill hand-printed a series of T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Maricon,” a Spanish slur for gay men, and “Malflora,” the derogatory equivalent of lesbian, across the chest. On the back was one more: “Rolemodel.”
A black and white self-portrait of Terrill in his subversive tee covers a wall inside UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, part of the Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.exhibition, which opens on Friday. The traveling exhibit was organized as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an initiative in Los Angeles—sponsored by the J. Paul Getty Museum—with the goal of investigating Latin American and Latinx art histories through a series of exhibitions in 2017.
Axis Mundo was one of those exhibits, the result of four years of research and development on behalf of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries and curators C. Ondine Chavoya and David Evans Frantz, all in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).