Harry Gamboa Jr. – Biography

Harry Gamboa Jr. is an artist, writer, and educator.

He is the founder and director of Virtual Vérité (2005-2017), the international performance troupe.

He is a co-founder of Asco (1972-1985), the Los Angeles-based performance group.

He is Co-Director of the Photo/Media Program at California Institute of the Arts.

He is a lecturer with the Chicana/o Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.



Harry Gamboa Jr.

Photo:  ©2019, Barbara Carrasco


His work has been exhibited by museums + galleries + art spaces nationally/internationally :

Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2020); Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.(2019); Tirafkan Cultural Foundation, Tehran (2019); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2019); Davis Museum at Wellesley College (2019); Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art UNLV, Las Vegas (2019); Vincent Price Art Museum ELAC, Monterey Park (2019); Museo de Arte Carrillo Gill, Mexico City(2018, 1978); Autry Museum of the American West (2018); Foto Forum Santa Fe (2018); Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile(2018); Marlborough Contemporary, New York (2017); MOCA Pacific Design Center (2017); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016, 2015 and 1995 Biennial); Utah Museum of Fine Arts (2015); Princeton University Art Museum (2015); Centre d’Arts Plastiques Contemporain Bordeaux, France (2014); De Appel, Amsterdam (2014); Triangle France, Marseille, France (2014); Smart Museum of Art, Chicago (2014); Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz, Austria (2013); Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, England (2013); Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. (2013); Le Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France (2013, 2017); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (UNAM), Mexico City (2013); Tate Liverpool, Liverpook, England (2013); The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, New York (2013); UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Rim Film Archive (2012); Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City (2011, 1981); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011, 2010); Musée de l’Élysée, Lausanne, Switzerland (2009); Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2011); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, England (2009); Museo de Arte Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexico (2009); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2011, 2008, 2001); Fowler Museum, UC Los Angeles (2011); Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City (2008); Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles (2008); El Museo del Barrio, New York (2008, 2010); The Huntington Library, San Marino, California (2008); Museo José Luis Cuevas, Mexico City (2006); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2006); Museo Nacional de la Estampa, Mexico City (2005); International Center of Photography, New York (2003); MIT List Visual Arts Center (2000); Queens Museum of Art (1999); Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (1997); Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark (1996); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (1994); Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (1994); LAX/CSU Los Angeles (1994); Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City (1981); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1979); Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City (1978); Museo Alvar y Carmen T. Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (1978); Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ (1977).

He has received numerous awards from institutions including the Rockefeller Foundation (2004), the Durfee Foundation Artist Award (2001), the Flintridge Foundation Visual Artist Award (2000), the Gluck Foundation (1998–1999), the J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts (1990), the California Arts Council (1996), Art Matters, Inc. (1996), and National Endowment for the Arts (1987 and 1980).

Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor, First District presented Harry Gamboa Jr. with a County of Los Angeles Commendation, August 1, 2017

In recognition of dedicated service to the affairs of the community and for the civic pride demonstrated by numerous contributions for the benefit of all citizens of Los Angeles County.

2010 Latino Heritage Month was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by a wide spectrum of supporters in Council Chambers at the famed Los Angeles City Hall, where Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa presented the Latino Heritage Awards: Spirit of Los AngelesWillie Herrón IIIPatssi Valdez, and Harry Gamboa Jr. accepted the award on behalf of Asco), Dream of Los Angeles Tony Plana, Hope of Los Angeles Plácido Domingo.

He has taught, lectured, and delivered artist talks at various universities and art institutions, including: University of Houston; California State University, Northridge;  University of California, Los Angeles;  University of California, Riverside; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Santa Barbara;  University of California, San Diego;  Otis/Parsons;  and Maine College of Art;

He has delivered artist talks at: Temple University; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Smithsonian American Art MuseumHarvard UniversityUC BerkeleyStanford UniversityDartmouth CollegeCornell UniversityScripps CollegeClaremont Graduate University; School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; University of Utah, Salt Lake CityCentro Cultural de España, Mexico City; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado “La Esmeralda“, Mexico City.

In Plain Sight, conceived by Cassils and rafa esparza, is a coalition of 80 artists fighting migrant detention and the culture of incarceration. The performance occurred July 3, 2020 appeared in the sky above Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility & Detention Center, Bakersfield, California.


He served as a juror for Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Outwin Boochever Competition 2019

In Spring 2018, From ‘No Movie’ to ‘Fake Buzzers’ and The Sixth Expanse, Harry Gamboa Jr. in conversation with Hugo Hopping [7], SixtyEight Art Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark.

In Fall 2017, he delivered keynote, Summer School #2 MAKING PUBLIC DOMAIN, Middelheim Museum, Antwerpen, organized by by Nico Dockx (Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten) and Pascal Gielen (ARIA).

In Fall 2012, Universitair Centrum Sint Ignatius Antwerpen – UCSIA sponsored Gamboa to present, La La Land: Deflections and Recollections, an artist talk at Universiteit Antwerpen. He also worked with students and faculty of Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (Royal Academy of Fine Arts) along with Belgian artists Ria Pacquée and Nico Dockx to produce “actions” in Antwerpen and Brugge.

His photographs are in the permanent collection of Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

His photographs are in the permanent collection of Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

His photographs are in the permanent collect of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

His photographs are in the permanent collect of Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA.

His photographs are in the permanent collection of Davis Museum at Wellesly College, Wellesley, MA.

His photographs are in the permanent collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY.

His photographs are in the permanent collection of Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles

His lithographs are in the permanent collection of Grunwald Center for the Graphic ArtsUniversity of California, Los Angeles.

His oral history is included in Smithsonian Archives of American Art (1999).

His oral history is also included in Alternative Projections, Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945-1980, a project of Los Angeles Filmforum (2011).

A permanent collection of his media works/papers has been established and archived at Green Library, Stanford University.


He is the author of several books:








, 2020

Autry Museum of the American West


He is the author of several e-books:











Flower of the Dead, 2020

Perfectly ferocious, and contagiously un-masked, Harry Gamboa Jr. does in FLOWER OF THE DEAD what he always does best as an artist and a poet: Rage rage against the dying of the light!

 –– Rex Weiner
            June 20, 2020


  • Rider, 2020 [9]
  • Lost Loops of Los (a meltdown in twelve steps), 2020 [10]
  • Dissolved in Ethernet, Selected Writings (2005-2007), 2020 [11]
  • Fallen, 2020 [12]
  • Xoloitzcuintli Doppelgänger and other stories, 2020 [13]


He is the author of several books:

  • Xoloitzcuintli Doppelgänger and other stories by Harry Gamboa Jr. [11]
  • Exploring Commonism A New Aesthetics of the Real  Edited with text by Nico Dockx & Pascal Gielen [12]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; The Sixth Expanse ; c2018. [13]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; Aztlángst 2; c2015. [14]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; Vie 21, Photo Journal 1; c2014. [15]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; Worker Ant (1) ; c2013. [16]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; Aztlángst: La La Fotonovela (Volume 1); c2011. [17]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; Pix; c2011. [18]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; Fallen; c2010. [19]
  • Gambhoa, Harry Jr.; Rider; c2009. [20]
  • Gamboa, Harry Jr.; edited by Chon A. Noriega. Urban Exile: Collected Writings of Harry Gamboa Jr.Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, c1998. [21]

His video and film work is available:


Radio Interview:

Paul Pescador interview with Harry Gamboa Jr.
September 22, 2019



Harry Gamboa Jr., See What You Mean, 2016/17 Getty Artist Program invitee, The J.Paul Getty Museum


See What You Mean – Fotonovelas


His works are featured in numerous museum catalogues including:

His work is featured in numerous books including:

His work has been internationally featured in various publications:


Xoloitzcuintli Doppelgänger and other stories

Xoloitzcuintli Doppelgänger and other stories by Harry Gamboa Jr. explores the stratospheric and subterranean aspects of perception via fiction regarding 21st Century urban life. Encounters with riots, fluctuating landscapes, and unidentified phantoms that roam the streets of México City, Berlin, and Los Angeles are revealed as dreamscapes. Stark humor confronts surreal moments where Aztec realms play with contemporary Chicano reflections.

Xoloitzcuintli Doppelgänger and other stories serve as a literary afterimage that will persist long after reading the last page.

8″ x 10″ (20.32 x 25.4 cm)
Black & White Bleed on White paper
104 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1724629906
ISBN-10: 1724629905
BISAC: Fiction / Urban Life


Order your copy on Amazon:








Thin Line

border_crossed_us5july16aEMAILborder_crossed_us5july16bEMAILborder_crossed_us5july16cEMAILborder_crossed_us5july16dEMAILThin Line (Sketch)
©2016, Harry Gamboa Jr.

Jo Caimo
Minja Gu
Stefan Wouters


Thin Line (Draw)
©2016, Harry Gamboa Jr.

Minja Gu
Saori Kuno
Stefan Wouters


Thin Line (Erase)
©2016, Harry Gamboa Jr.

Dave Nuyts
Saori Kuno
Stefan Wouters
Nico Dockx
Isabel Tesfazghi

Virtual Vérité




Live Artists Live

usc_liveartistslive29jan16aEMAILusc_liveartistslive29jan16dEMAILusc_liveartistslive29jan16cEMAILusc_liveartistslive29jan16bEMAILusc_liveartistslive29jan16eEMAILusc_liveartistslive29jan16fEMAILLive Artists Live
Performance Art and the Archive

January 29, 2016

USC Visions & Voices
The Arts and Humanities Initiative

USC Roski
School of Art and Design


Erin Silver
Harry Gamboa Jr.
©2016, Barbara Carrasco

Ron Athey
Amelia Jones
©2016, Harry Gamboa Jr.

Ruben Mendoza
Nicole Scalissi
Harry Gamboa Jr.
©2016, Barbara Carrasco

Nao Bustamante
Ron Athey
Dominic Johnson
Jennifer Doyle
©2016, Harry Gamboa Jr.

Karen Rapp
Nicole Scalissi
Barbara Carrasco
©2016, Harry Gamboa Jr.

Harry Gamboa Jr.
©2016, Harry Gamboa Jr.


University of Southern California
Los Angeles






VIE 21, Photo Journal 1

















Vie 21, Photo Journal 1
68 pages

ISBN-10: 1500706868
ISBN-13: 978-1500706869

Vie 21, Photo Journal 1
contains selected 21st Century photographic works by Harry Gamboa Jr.
Performances by Virtual Vérité

Amazon.com and other online retailers.


Asco – No Movies – CAPC Bordeaux

bordeaux_asco25jun14aBLOGAsco – No Movies
26.06.2014 -> 05.10.2014
CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux



Asco – No Movies
CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux


bordeaux_asco26jun14bBLOGAsco – No Movies
Exhibition Reception


Bordeaux – Los Angeles 50 Year Partnership at U.S. Consulate – Bordeaux Reception
Harry Gamboa Jr.
Thomas Wolf (U.S. consul in Bordeaux)
Dan Finsel


Harry Gamboa Jr.
John Valadez
mural production studio at Musée d’Aquitaine Bordeaux

Photo:  David Diaz, Ph.D.

John Valadez


ASCO no movies Asco – qui signifie dégoût ou nausée en espagnol – est un important collectif d’artistes chicanos (première génération d’Américano-mexicains) actif dans les années 1970-1980. Ils réalisaient des performances, photographies, films et peintures dans les rues d’East Los Angeles, en marge de la scène artistique de LA. —- Extravagants à outrance, vêtus de costumes chinés ou fabriqués par leurs soins, les membres d’Asco mettaient en scène des performances provocantes qu’ils immortalisaient sous formes de photographies intitulées “No Movies”. Ce simple énoncé paradoxal plaçait leur action dans la catégorie des films conceptuels – une narration éphémère assimilée à une affiche ou un photogramme de film hollywoodien, dans lesquels les membres d’Asco devenaient de pseudo-ʺstars du barrioʺ. Leurs actions et performances étaient créées en réaction aux troubles sociaux et aux émeutes raciales de l’époque à Los Angeles. Leurs tableaux investissaient souvent les lieux d’incidents importants dans les jours qui suivaient l’événement sans que l’imagerie et le style de la performance y fasse directement référence. Si Asco appartenait à une contre-culture politique chicano, son esthétique adoptait une toute autre ligne. De fait, ce mélange d’art et de politique combiné à l’héritage chicano et à la pop, le punk et la mode de l’époque est unique. Le collectif a récemment été réhabilité au sein de l’histoire de la création artistique de LA et ses œuvres ont trouvé un nouvel écho auprès des jeunes générations d’artistes intéressés par la performativité, les fictions médiatiques et l’activisme politique. La première exposition monographique consacrée à Asco (Asco: Elite of the Obscure) a eu lieu en 2012 à Los Angeles dans le cadre de Pacific Standard Time, un événement protéiforme organisé par The Getty (expositions, performances, manifestations diverses et édition de livres) qui retrace l’histoire et l’influence des arts visuels à Los Angeles dans la seconde moitié du XXème siècle. Cette exposition saluée par la critique avait été conçue à partir d’une thèse de doctorat ayant pour sujet Asco. Elle présentait une chronologie des activités du collectif au moyen d’archives et d’œuvres variées, ainsi qu’une publication exhaustive. L’œuvre d’Asco a récemment fait l’objet d’expositions à la Tate Modern, la Tate Liverpool, au Centre Pompidou et d’un article important dans Artforum en 2011. L’exposition présentée au CAPC vise à insister sur l’importance de leur travail au regard des critères de l’art performatif et de l’art interdisciplinaire réalisé dans la seconde moitié du 20ème siècle.  L’exposition d’Asco au LACMA était impressionnante d’érudition et se concentrait essentiellement sur la photographie. Celle du CAPC en revanche, s’intéresse autant aux costumes, aux vidéos et aux installations qu’aux photos, dans le but de reconstituer sous forme d’exposition les dimensions performatives, physiques et le rapport au contexte des œuvres d’Asco. Les principaux prismes d’interprétation de cette exposition sont les explications des artistes eux-mêmes concernant leurs œuvres et le contexte politique, culturel et historique dans lequel elles ont été réalisées.

Irene Aristizábal et Alex Farquharson sont les commissaires d’Asco: No Movies, une collaboration entre De Appel arts centre d’Amsterdam et le CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux. L’exposition s’appuie sur la récente rétrospective Asco: Elite of the Obscure préparée par les commissaires Rita Gonzalez et C. Ondine Chavoya pour le compte du Los Angeles County Museum of Art et du Williams College Museum of Art.

Exposition realize avec le soutien de Chaucer Freight et l’Ambassade des Etats-Unis d’ Amérique en France. Dans le cadre du 50 anniversaire du jumelage Bordeaux-Los Angeles Bordeaux – Los Angeles 50 Year Partnership.


ASCO — which means disgust or nausea in Spanish — are an important Chicano (first generation Mexican American) collective active in the 1970s-80s working with performance, photography, film and painting on the streets of East Los Angeles, beyond the centre of the L.A. art world.  Highly flamboyant, ASCO staged provocative performances that were captured on camera as photographs they called ‘no movies’.  Their actions and performances were created in response to the social unrest and race riots that occurred at this time in Los Angeles.  While belonging to a political Chicano counter-culture, aesthetically they went in quite a different direction.  As such, their combination of art and politics, interwoven with their Chicano heritage and the pop, punk and fashion of their time, is unique.

CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux
7 rue Ferrère
F-33000 Bordeaux

Tél. +33 (0)5 56 00 81 50