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Asco, No Movies

Asco, No Movies took place at Nottingham Contemporary between 12 October 2013 and 5 January 2014, subsequently travelling to de Appel, Amsterdam and CAPC, Bordeaux. It was the first exhibition to in Europe to focus on the artist collective Asco, formed in the early 1970s by four Chicano artists - Harry Gamboa Jr, Gronk, Willie F. Herrón III and Patssi Valdez - who met in high school in East LA, the centre of Los Angeles’s Mexican American community. No Movies built on the acclaimed retrospective, Elite of the Obscure (Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Williams College Museum of Art; 2011-12) which was curated by Rita Gonzalez and Ondine Chavoya.

The exhibition brought together photographic and filmed documentation of the group’s now-iconic street performances and interventions - including Stations of the Cross (1971), Spray Paint LACMA (East Bridge), 1972, First Supper After a Major Riot, 1974 and Decoy Gang War Victim, 1975 - with the No Movies series of staged movie-stills - works which were both exhibited at Los Angeles’s LACE gallery in 1978 and distributed via the mail, to organisations and individuals internationally in the form of mail art works rubber-stamped “No Movie” or “Chicano Cinema/Asco” in red ink. 

For this exhibition, Asco founder-member Patssi Valdez spent an extended period of time in Nottingham working in situ to produce a new installation inspired by Asco’s Paper Fashion Show (1980) and Walking Mural (1972). A series of new and re-created paper fashions were made by Valdez at Primary Studios, in collaboration with artist Nadim Chaudry and with the assistance of students from the School of Art & Design at NTU. These were displayed within the exhibition and performed as a live catwalk show. 

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