Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chicano Art @ The Muckenthaler

Last month I attended one of the best art shows I've ever seen in Fullerton.  It was called "Open Your Eyes/Abre Los Ojos: Mexican and Chicano Art from Southern California," curated by Jose Lozano, at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center.  I was fortunate enough to meet Jose and listen to him give a gallery talk about the various artworks, which showed the fascinating diversity of Chicano artists from the 1970s to today, and gave insight into  the social/political/cultural concerns of the Chicano movement in America.

In his curator's statement, Jose Lozano explains his intentions for the show:

I hope this exhibit engages the viewer to ponder, analyze, make connections, delight, dismiss, scrutinize and contemplate the diverse works made by Mexican and Chicano artists.

The term Chicano Art I immediately link to the groundbreaking 1974 exhibition of Los Four held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  It was the first ever show featuring Chicano artists at a major museum, and included Frank Romero, Gilbert "Magu" Lujan, Carlos Almaraz, Beto De La Rocha, and Judith Hernandez.

Sister Karen Boccalero who established Self-Help Graphics art studio in East Los Angeles is another powerful pioneering and influential presence who fueled and shaped the notion of Chicano art, as evident in the many artworks produced there included in this exhibit.

I took some photos of the various artworks, because I felt like each piece had something to teach me.

"The Closing of Whittier Blvd." by Frank Romero. This piece portrays Los Angeles County sheriffs closure of Whittier Blvd. in Los Angeles, which was a popular place for Chicano youth to "cruise" in their cars in the 1970s.  For a fascinating interview done by the Smithsonian with Frank Romero, click HERE.

"La Carucha de Chuck & Angie" by Gilbert "Magu" Lujan, who was part of the iconic Los Four.

This is a piece by Gronk, who was part of another influential Chicano artist collective in the 1970s called ASCO.

"Barbara Carroso" from the Undoing Series by Harry Gamboa, who was also a member of ASCO.

Portrait of Frida Kahlo by Manuel Alvarez Bravo.

"Mujer de Mucha Enagua" by Yreina Cervantez.

"Flight of Fancy" by Frank Gutierrez.

"Migra Mouse" by Lalo Alcaraz.

"Like Father, Like Son" by Sergio Vasquez.

"Voice Within" by Linda Vallejo and "Portrait" by Yolanda Gonzalez.

Untitled by Jaime Zacarias aka Germs.  Germs has shown his work at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Vincent Price Gallery, and other places most LA artists dream of showing.

Here's my friend Josue Rivas, a fine artist himself, standing in front of a piece called "Virgin" by Jaime Zacarias aka Germs.  

Jose is discussing a wood block print by Artemio Rodriguez, founder of La Mano Press.

"Domingo 7 2004" by Miguel Angel Murillo.

"Not Yet" by Roberto Gutierrez.

"Laugh Now, Cry Later" by Salomon Huerta, who has shown his work all over the world, including at the Gagosian Gallery in London.

"Budweiser Man" by Ricardo Estrada.

Here is a portrait of the curator, Jose Lozano, who is an amazing artist as well.

Here's a piece by Jose Lozano.  All in all, the exhibit opened my eyes to the richness that is Chicano art, past and present.  As a gallery owner myself, I hope to work with Jose and some of the artists I learned about in this exhibit, to maybe help introduce some of them to the Fullerton art community.

1 comment:

  1. Reading the article “Sellabrations” vs. Celebrations by Professor Jesse La Tour I did not understand the meaning “Sellabrations” till I read the article over and over again then twenty minutes later I finally got it. When I finally understood the meaning of “Sellabrations” I began to think about this article in a different light such as shopping. I know you might say shopping, how? But I viewed Black Friday as sellabrations where all the big business such as Target, the Mall, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and other name brand stores like these ones receive all the business, money, and people. The way I would describe Black Friday shopping is exactly how you put it when you explained Orange County Public Celebration “infrequent in number, narrow in function, confined in space and subdued in mood…and highly staged affairs, largely the creations of bureaucrats and business people.” Black Friday is just a big day where all this big business gets a lot of customers that they do not care about, making them wait a week in line to buy something at a discounted price that still actually a rip off of a price, and promotes no type of community unity, but more quarrelsome of who was in line first. Just as you began to explain that is still hope in Fullerton that are some new things on the rise such as the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk that promotes “all walks of life”, human interactions, that’s has a true sense of community, and owners of small business who have true passion in what they do and not in the money. What you describe here is what I like to view as the Support Small Business Saturday. The next day after Black Friday is Support Small Business Saturday where owners who have a passion for what they are selling, that care about customers, that are as well loyal to their customers, and that are in the business not for money have a day where they get celebrated! Having these small business celebrated help the community to remember the little tradition, uniqueness, and passion that the town still has left such as the old Mom’s and Pap’s antique store, Bonnie’s Boutique, Pepe’s or Uncle Mike Deli’s. If any of this small business was open to make money a lot of them would have been closed years ago, but they stay open because here lays their heart and passion for they business and their way to impact the community through it!

    In the article “Chicano Art @ The Muckenthaler” by Professor Jesse La Tour my favorite photo was “The Closing of Whittier Blvd” by Frank Romero. I like this photo because I am actually from Los Angeles so I understand this picture what He mean about the police, the colors and what they symbolize, and what this picture in tails. Fun Fact: I love the 1970s I actually had about seven old fashion cars at my prom and my mom had those same cars used in her wedding!