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Asco, Asshole Mural, 1975, color photograph. From the series “No Movie,” 1973–78. From left: Patssi Valdez, Gronk (Glugio Nicandro), Willie F. Herrón III, Harry Gamboa Jr. Photo: Ricardo Valverde.

FOUR STYLISHLY DRESSED FIGURES stand around the gaping mouth of a storm drain. Core members of the East Los Angeles Chicano collective Asco—Patssi Valdez, Gronk (Glugio Nicandro), Willie F. Herrón III, and Harry Gamboa Jr.—they face the camera with unsmiling, cool expressions. The men have tucked their hands into the pockets of their natty suits, while Valdez, clad in beige slacks and a floral bustier, leans back casually against a concrete barrier as if posing for a fashion spread. The picture’s title, Asshole Mural, turns a scatological joke into a high-concept variation on muralism, which in the early 1970s was perceived as the dominant mode of Chicano art.

This photograph was conceived by Gamboa in 1975 during a series of performances in which the group nominated themselves as ersatz municipal employees of East Los Angeles, an unincorporated territory within LA that

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