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Well-known Latino art scholar Shifra Goldman, 85, dies

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A preeminent scholar of Chicano and Latin American art, Shifra Goldman, died on Sunday from complications of Alzheimer's disease.

Goldman was approaching middle age when she enrolled at UCLA to earn her doctorate in art history. In the early 1970s she was one of the first academics to write seriously about the growing work of Chicano artists in L.A. and other parts of the southwest.

Television director and filmmaker Jesus Salvador Treviño said Goldman took him to Olvera Street in the late 1960s and showed him a whitewashed 1932 mural by renowned Mexican artist Siqueiros.

"She was very much involved in Mexican-American art and in Mexican art," Treviño says. "She was one of the pioneers that was giving it credence and that was giving in respectability at a time when few people even acknowledged its existence.

The Getty tapped into Goldman’s research; it's building an interactive viewing area next to the mural and on the museum's website.

Treviño says Goldman was a mentor to many artists and critics. Artists came to expect her brutally honest criticism of their work at gallery openings.

Shifra Goldman was 85 years old when she died.