Our America: “Breakfast Tacos”

"Breakfast Tacos" from the series "Seven Days" by Chuck Ramirez / Smithsonian American Art Museum

“Breakfast Tacos” from the series “Seven Days” by Chuck Ramirez / Smithsonian American Art Museum

Somebody had a hearty breakfast!

Chuck Ramirez’s contemporary still-life photograph, with its half-eaten breakfast tacos resting in glistening aluminum foil, cups of coffee and empty beer cans, tells a story of more than just a delicious morning meal. Through his work, Ramirez magnified the stuff of everyday life to reveal the history embedded in popular icons.

The central subject in the scene, breakfast tacos, are usually marketed as having come from across the border, despite being a staple food in many parts of Texas and growing in popularity across the country.

The two beer cans—Lone Star and Miller Lite—show how popular icons embody facets of our national past. The Lone Star flag was adopted as the national flag of the Republic of Texas, after the Texas War of Independence from Mexico, and transitioned to a state flag and beloved state symbol when Texas joined the Union in 1845. The Miller Brewing Co. was founded in 1855 by a German immigrant named Frederick Muller, who anglicized his name to Miller and founded the brewery in Milwaukee.

To learn more about this and many other works by Latino artists featured in the exhibition, visit  “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art,” on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Posted: 19 February 2014
About the Author:

The Torch relies on contributions from the entire Smithsonian community.