What does Rembrandt’s Night Watch have to do with Chicanx art? For actor and comedian Cheech Marin, it was the inspiration for building a collection that could one day be the basis for a museum. In the 1980s, at the height of his Cheech & Chong days, Marin had started collecting Chicanx art. He visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and spent nearly an hour gazing at Rembrandt’s 14-foot-wide masterpiece—“looking at the painting and taking in every aspect of it,” he said—and it was then that he knew he wanted to build a museum-quality collection of his own.
“I’d seen it all my life growing up, in reproductions in books, but when I got there—it was a huge, huge painting, like a mural,” Marin said in an interview from his Pacific Palisades home. “When I saw it, I thought, Wow, I get it now. It made such an impression on me. I thought to myself, That’s what I have to do.”