Fellows & Grantees

J.V. Decemvirale

SSRC Arts Research with Communities of Color (ARCC) Fellowship 2023


J.V. Decemvirale is an assistant professor of art history and global cultures at Cal State San Bernardino. As an Arts Research with Communities of Color Fellow, he will conduct a year-long ethnographic research project with the Los Angeles-based Self-Help Graphics & Art, Inc. An Angeleno of Italian and Peruvian descent, his research focuses on contemporary American community art politics. Decemvirale most recently published a chapter in the anthology Self Help Graphics at Fifty (UC Press, 2023), an exploration of the storied Latinx art organization’s aesthetic foundations. He is currently working on his book, Keeping Fires in the Hinterlands, a decolonial untwining of art’s hidden histories as a tool of epistemic conquest and resistance. His research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the California Institute of Technology, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

J.V. Decemvirale and Self Help Graphics & Art, Inc
In collaboration with Self Help Graphics, Decemvirale will conduct oral histories, interviews, and organize public discussions exploring the organization’s fifty-year history. Culminating in an ethnographic research report, the ambition is to situate Self Help’s current programs within the organization’s long history of experimental cultural work. Documenting strategies that have been both successful and unsuccessful, this report will serve as a resource for thinking through the future of community–artist collaboration in Los Angeles. In keeping with Self Help’s values, much of the historical research and conversations with contemporary artists and stakeholders will be presented to the public in a podcast, tentatively titled, Days of the Dead.