2009 Franco Mondini-Ruiz Born: San Antonio, Texas 1961 mixed media installation, including glass, crystal, silver, plastic, and ceramic objects dimensions variable Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Henry R. Muñoz III in honor of Debra Guerrero © 2009, Franco Mondini-Ruiz 2013.48.1 Not currently on view
Crystal City is titled after the small town that sparked the Chicano civil rights movement in Texas. Mondini-Ruiz riffs on the word crystal to gather disparate objects – crystal stemware, silverware, mirrors, and inexpensive tchotchkes – designed to resemble a city seen from above. In uniting objects that share precious and reflective properties, Mondini-Ruiz expresses his ideas about what motivated the quest for equal rights. Civil rights leaders fought for Latinos to be considered valued members of society and for them to be integrated into (or “reflected”) in the social and governing fabric of their community. The desire for social mobility – a tangible outcome of equal opportunity symbolized by the flashy objects collected here – also played a role.
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, 2013