Beginning with scavenged, discarded signs, their familiar corporate logos long faded, Armando Lerma creates art that reflects his Mexican-American heritage and borderland upbringing with an aesthetic that is inherently Californian. Found objects and pop culture imagery are tightly woven together, infusing disparate mythologies and a multitude of cultural references into his artistic practice. Living and working in the southern California desert town of Coachella, Lerma is a master of rasquachismo.
For Lerma, Lost in the Andes denotes the idea of a paradise lost and of venturing into the unknown. Lerma is inspired by the Hopi creation mythology of the Long Migration, where each Hopi clan was to go to the farthest extremity of the land in every direction. Led on their journeys by various signs, the Hopi clans finished their prescribed migrations and were led to their current location in northeastern Arizona. “I’ve been traveling to Mexico since ‘94 in search of art and culture and the source of it all. My travels through Mexico have been a huge influence on my work. I’ve never been to South America; Lost in the Andes refers to me going further. It all is symbolic of my art journey/life journey.”
Lost in the Andes is part of The Cheech @ RAM series of exhibits leading to the opening of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry of the Riverside Art Museum. To see more exhibits like this at The Cheech, please consider a donation.
About the Artist
Lerma (born January 8, 1975, Indio, CA) is an American artist working in various media including painting, sculpture, and installations. His work is inspired by the art and culture of past civilizations, American pop culture, folk and sacred art of the American Southwest and Mexico, and touches upon a wide range of topics: history, myths, legends, ancestral spirits, anthropology, the mundane, and the mysterious.
Lerma has exhibited in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London, and Oaxaca. Recently, he has had solo exhibitions at Ace Gallery (Los Angeles, 2017) and Eastern Projects (Los Angeles, 2018). Lerma participated in the Desert X Biennial in 2019. His work is in the permanent collection of the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA), the Gene Autry Museum (Los Angeles, CA), and the Palm Springs Art Museum (Palm Springs, CA).
Lost in the Andes Opening Reception: Thursday, October 3, 2019, 6 p.m.–8 p.m., No cost
Please join us and the artist for the Opening Reception of Lost in the Andes.
Take a time out; go on a day trip! They create unexpected memories and are a refreshing cultural experience. Questions? Please contact Katie Hernandez, RAM Interpretation Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growing in Coachella Valley
Saturday, November 16, Bus departs RAM at 8 a.m., $175 (Includes transportation, lunch, and bus cocktails)
Away we go to learn about the growing art scene in the Coachella Valley. Armando Lerma will be our tour guide as he talks about his murals as part of Coachella Walls, a community-driven project to revitalize downtown Coachella’s Historic Pueblo Viejo District. This visit is an opportunity to learn about the arts in a neighboring community and hear from artists and partners working to preserve local history. To end our trip, we’ll make a stop in Palm Springs to enjoy a cocktail or two.
Artist-in-Residence: Armando Lerma
Stay tuned for more information about our new artist-in-residency with Armando Lerma. This project is in partnership with California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB)’s Art Department. We will be announcing an exhibition and projects that involve the artist and CSUSB students. We hope the lessons learned will help shape our artist-in-residency program at The Cheech. Thank you to the James Irvine Foundation for making this possible.
Betty and Walter Parks
California State University, San Bernardino