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East L.A., White Fence (from the series White Fence, East L.A.)

East L.A., White Fence (from the series White Fence, East L.A.)

Artist: Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, born 1944)
Subject Matter: White Fence (gang) (Mexican American, founded 1910)
Date: 1986
Medium: gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image: 12 3/16 × 18 5/16 in. (31 × 46.5 cm)
Support: 15 7/8 × 19 7/8 in. (40.3 × 50.5 cm)
Mat: 20 × 24 in. (50.8 × 61 cm)
Classification: Photograph
Credit Line: Jane Reese Williams Collection, Museum acquisition through the New Mexico Council on Photography, 1991
Keywords and Associated Locations:
Object number: 1991.25.1
Description
“White Fence” in the title refers to the White Fence (WF) street gang from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. Its members are primarily Mexican American and WF is considered the oldest gang in Los Angeles. Its history goes back to the early twentieth century, when it was known as La Purissima Crowd for its members’ association with the church of that name. The name shifted to White Fence for the white picket fence around La Purissima Church. The term “Fence” may also refer to the racism and separation between the Mexican American and the European American residents of the neighborhood. White Fence was one of the first East L.A. gangs to use lethal weaponry and at mid-century was considered one of the city’s most violent and powerful gangs. Iturbide began photographing the White Fence member in 1987 when she was invited to be one of the contributors for the publication A Day in the Life of America, a scrapbook of hundreds of photographs made all over the country on May 2, 1986. A friend made the initial introduction and the artist was welcomed by the White Fence family, who shared their way of life with her. Interested in their lives, Iturbide created a more extensive series of the people and their neighborhood that included this image. Prevalent in these pictures is the 1980s “cholo” fashion: tight jeans, skimpy tops, and lots of makeup for the women; tattoos, chinos, white t-shirts (sometimes topped by loose plaid shirts) for the men. The women in the photograph are making gang signs with their hands and are standing in front of a painted mural.
Not on view