Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chicanarte lives! San Antonio Update

Michael Sedano

Chicanarte lives! You know that, if you’re anywhere near galleries in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, Chicago, Kansas City, Glendale, or Pomona.  Or so I hear from the internet. Wherever people settle, cultura thrives to enrich everyone's lives.

They brought their arte with them. Where la raza is, there too is arte. Aqui pintamos y no nos vamos.

http://www.daartcenter.org/da_infor/exhibit_flyer_1.pdf Click the link for a high-resolution view of the portrait and a list of artists participating 

Not that Chicanarte has ever been absent but sometimes a rousing reaffirmation becomes the order of the day, especially as brilliant examples of Chicana Chicano art find their way into the permanence of public art installations, reaching new audiences while affirming Chicana Chicano culture in the regional character.

Coupled with the thriving ephemera of gallery shows, and literary arts events, Chicanarte has never had such a vibrant presence on the Unitedstatesian cultural landscape. Locals have to check it out; cultural tourism for out-of-staters pays off because internet coverage remains spotty and there's no substitute for standing in front of a work of art and letting it have its way. 

La Bloga is always on the lookout for local reports of arte and cultura as a method of reaffirming the presence among us of art in all its various aesthetic, political, communitarian, and rhetorical dimensions. If you're a writer and cover the cultural scene where you're at, click here.

I don’t know if Chicanarte lives at The Broad, LA’s “new contemporary art museum,” per its website. A quick jaunt through the website-based collection turns up no familiar surnames. Still, there’s hope for The Broad, and other institutions that are missing the boat. MOLAA was one of these, but turned itself around.

Chcanarte lives! in Long Beach, California where MOLAA—the Museum Of Latin American Art-- rescinded a policy prohibiting curators hanging U.S.born raza artists. For years the policy had been a sore point among regional artists.

Recently MOLAA opened its walls to local and other US painters, and while the museum hasn’t announced an acquisition budget for US raza art, the inaugural show, Somewhere Over El Arco Iris: Chicano Landscapes; 1971 – 2015--on the walls of MOLAA, until November 15—marks MOLAA’s new inclusiveness.

Chicanarte lives! on the Metro 

Los Angeles travelers are about to have transit that runs from the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica to the foot of the Sierra Madre mountains in Azusa. Perhaps as soon as next year’s AWP, riders along that route will have the pleasure of seeing permanent installations by Chicana and Chicano artists.

Passengers boarding the Expo line at Downtown Santa Monica Station will admire Judithe Hernandez’ mythos-infused paintings converted to tile mosaic murals.

At Expo’s Westwood/Rancho Park Station, commuters will enjoy Abel Alejandre’s graphite observations of bipedalism, scaled to monumental enamel signage.

Transferring at Union Station, a detour to the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes might discover an interesting temporary exhibition. For certain, a detour into Olvera Street to view the conserved America Tropical by David Alfaro Siquieros, will be worthwhile.
La Bloga's Saturday columnist, Rudy Ch Garcia visits America Tropical

On the Gold Line, at Pasadena’s Allen Street Station, Michael Amescua’s iron work casts intriguing shadows across the boarding platform. Amescua’s entry gate at street level makes a breath-taking entrance passage for riders.

Chicanarte lives! at Glendale’s Forest Lawn Museum, where “Leading Ladies – From Fantasy to Reality” delights. This tribute to women heroes, as real as Maria Guardado in Sandra Cornejos’ painting, or ideal as Margaret Garcia’s everywoman, runs through early next year, allowing ample time for multiple visits to this impressive collection of art about women, principally by women artists. See La Bloga’s fotoessay on Leading Ladies here.

The thirteenth annual Aztlán art show at Pomona’s dA,Aztlán 2015. Mujeres de Aztlan / Desde el Corazon de las mujeres (from the heart of women). Honoring Margaret Garcia, features more than 80 artists, principally painters but the show includes also photography, sculpture, and assemblage.

Margaret Garcia radiates joy
dA’s outstanding Aztlán 2015 exhibition culminates an historic period in Chicanarte history.

At 13 iterations, the show's longevity deserves notice. Thirteen comes not as a measure of endurance but an index of the ongoing vitality and importance of Chicanarte. Just as the mujeres in the Leading Ladies exhibition equalled their peers, the quality of work packed onto the walls of the dA kept the crowd circulating from frame to frame then, completing a cycle of the exhibition, begin the cycle again.

A second gallery up the street at the art institute exhibited some gems of such power that visitors will appreciate having these paintings held in their own space.

A show like Aztlán 2015 deserves multiple visits to spend time with a few favorite pieces, then see the entire collection again. Or a second visit after dining at one of the local spots, a dessert for your eyes.

Margaret Garcia's flames paintings glow, infused with the spirit of their subject.

Aztlán 2015 Mujeres de Aztlan / Desde el Corazon de las mujeres runs through November 21. Parking is close, convenient, and only a few bucks. Admission to the dA center is free.

The people, yes, the gente are the most important element of successful events. La Bloga attended the Friday afternoon Preview, when many of the artists attended to talk with one another and to see the show, see what their friends had submitted to this annual arte extravaganza.

Sergio Hernandez and his work, The Last Slap. Behind, Pola Lopez Loteria pin-Up Girl.
Sergio Hernandez talks in detail about his entry. His condemnation of violence against women, The Last Slap, shows a woman staring her abuser in the eye, grimly determined to stop his upraised hand with the power of the seething contempt she holds for him. The man's back bears a torso-length Virgen of Guadalupe, the idealized woman whose worship he profanes with every upraised hand.

Behind Hernandez is Pola Lopez' Loteria Pin-Up Girl. It's an intriguing piece that requires hours to view every square inch. Lopez infuses the cards with wit and insightful commentary on everyday behaviors. "La Sin Vergüenza" for example, lies on her back, notches carved on her bedstead. and "La Facebook" is number 24/7.

The Aztlán show is a social highlight for artists and their friends. It was good to see Mario Trillo stroll casually through the crowd.

Trillo's work hangs in the show, but his appearance is also notable because Mario a week ago had a knee replaced, a long-delayed aftereffect of Vietnam wounds.

Artist Mario Trillo receives Bonnie Lambert's portrait of him.
During a poetry reading at Avenue 50 I stopped by Pola Lopez' studio in the complex. She took a break to chat while the unfinished Loteria Pin Up Girl rested on an easel. It had made an enriching introduction to the finished work.

Estela Hyde and Pola Lopez exhibited work in the show.
Margaret Garcia's portrait of Hyde is the show's poster.
A work of art makes a grand holiday gift. A special treat to oneself because workaday rewards pale in contrast to owning a work that warms your heart and eye every time you see it. At the dA, the most exquisite works in the show sell below four thousand dollars. 

That's that vacation to Cuba, but go and a week later, you're home. 

On the other hand, buy that painting. This beautiful entity hangs there every time you walk through the room and it makes you glad. The arte is there every time your kids bring their little friends over to see how you live.

©michael v sedano, ca 1980 on east 1st St
Circa 1980 graffiti near Self-Help Graphics

Festival, Film, Poets Laureate

La Bloga friend, publisher and musician Juan Tejeda, wants his friends to spread the word about important happenings in one of the world's most vibrant cities, San Antonio, Texas. This month-long celebration promises to make this a Fall to remember! Juan observes:

We have a great month-long celebration programmed (see poster with the complete schedule and flyers) which will feature the first Chicano/Latino U.S. Poet Laureate in history, Juan Felipe Herrera; the World Premiere of 100% NDN, an original theater/dance production featuring San Antonio's own, Jesse Borrego, and written, directed and choreographed by Isaac Alvarez Cardenas; a Free Friday Film Series of Indigenous Documentaries; some of our most important academics and authors; and more. 

All events will be held at Palo Alto College and are free and open to the public.


Magpie said...

Wow Em, This month is packed. Myself and all the people at the Da Gallery appreciate the ink and the link. It is vitality important to support the efforts of the Pomona community. The outlets for Art, the youth guided away from negativity and towards positive self identity, toward constructive energy. This exhibit is awesome, the young up and coming artists that come out and throw down the gauntlet for us veteranos is crucial to keeping fresh and alive our culture. Art is Culture and Culture defines who we are. Each generation brings forth issues that we are pressed to cope with, in terms of our identity and our humanity.

Thank you for your attention and support.
Margaret Garcia

PS Metrolink station is about two blocks from the Da. In LA you can leave your car at Union Station and zip out to Pomona without fighting the traffic.

msedano said...

Thank you, Margaret. That's great about the railroad to Pomona, too.

Juan Tejeda said...

gracias, maestro sedano, for the help in promoting our events at palo alto college in san anto. talk soon. juan