Collection Spotlight: Gato Negro Ediciones

Library adds rare bilingual risographs to Special Collections & Archives

For more than a half century, the UC San Diego Library has made it a priority to acquire and preserve materials that benefit the UC San Diego community, as well as researchers and scholars around the globe. From students and faculty to staff and the public, our collections serve a variety of purposes and have allowed our patrons to hatch new ideas and grow together in knowledge. This tradition has proven itself to be true once more with our recent addition of Gato Negro Ediciones publications.

Gato Negro Ediciones, known for its use of the risograph printing technique, is an independent publisher based in Mexico City. Its publications are printed in English and Spanish (occasionally bilingual) and cover topics such as the arts, cultural theory, literature, politics, social movements and more. Its cutting-edge content is relevant to scholarship and courses in many areas, including Latin American studies, visual arts, literature and ethnic and gender studies.

Recognizing the unique and meaningful contributions of this collection, the Library acquired the majority of the publisher’s content in Spring 2020—upwards of 140 publications. Due to their scarcity, fragility and complexity, these items are being safely housed in Special Collections & Archives. This acquisition has made the UC San Diego Library one of few academic research libraries to hold the majority of Gato Negro Ediciones’ publications.

“While reviewing the volumes in the Gato Negro Ediciones collection, I was struck by their coverage of interdisciplinary topics that are important to UC San Diego researchers, including contemporary art and poetry, politics, border studies and gender studies,” said Laura Schwartz, subject specialist for visual arts. “Bringing this collection to the Library allows our community to more readily access these materials that are not widely available. I look forward to working with students and faculty on integrating these publications into their coursework and research.”

Advocating for the liberty of thought, Gato Negro has made it a point to publish works that focus on the “so-often sequestered view of contemporary society” and give voice to artists and authors who may have been silenced in the past. The publisher has stated that the takeaways are solely between the reader and the author, allowing each to consume, convey and expand upon their point of view on a particular issue or topic.

“When the UC San Diego Library first approached us with the opportunity to house our publications in its Special Collections & Archives, we were elated and humbled,” said León Muñoz Santini, self-taught designer, photographer and founder of Gato Negro Ediciones. “Each edition within the collection, whether it focuses on political manifestos or art theory and prose, has a purpose and real-life application in the educational realm. We truly hope the UC San Diego community enjoys each piece and reaches out to a librarian to dive deeper into the content.”

In addition to the incredible relevancy of the materials, each item in the Gato Negro collection dons a gorgeous cover featuring frame worthy artwork. Take “Oh! The Normal: A Rain Falls from the Sun,” for example—the cover (left) features an artistic orb with a constellation-like detail, giving the reader a sense of the rich content that lies within.

According to Sarah Buck Kachaluba, subject specialist for Latin American studies and Iberian languages and literatures, “While Gato Negro will be of interest to scholars worldwide who specialize in the areas identified by Schwartz, UC San Diego is a logical home for this content. The university and San Diego region are important sites of border and migration studies, and locating this material in San Diego increases accessibility to scholars on both sides of the border.”

Several librarians and other Library employees were involved in the acquisition of this body of work, including Director of Special Collections & Archives Lynda Claassen, Schwartz and Buck Kachaluba. Together, the team worked to purchase the materials, making it a true in-house collaboration between three programs: Academic Engagement & Learning Services, Special Collections & Archives and Collection Development & Management.

The collection has been fully cataloged in the University of California’s new systemwide library discovery tool, UC Library Search, and as previously mentioned, is available to view in person through Special Collections & Archives. Moving forward, the Library intends to keep an eye on Gato Negro’s publication cycle and acquire its complete output on an annual basis.

We invite you to learn more about the Gato Negro Ediciones collection by visiting and the exhibition, “Gato Negro Ediciones: Contemporary Arts Publications from Mexico,” which is currently on view at Geisel Library on the 2nd (main) Floor through December 13, 2021. You can also visit Gato Negro’s website at If you have any questions, please contact

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Explore magazine, the Library’s signature biannual publication. Read the full issue online here.