The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture is First Stop for Nationally Touring Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective
Riverside, CA (June 9, 2022) – The Riverside Art Museum is partnering with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino on a seven-month-long exhibition that explores over 30 years of artistic production by internationally acclaimed artist duo Einar and Jamex de la Torre.
Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective premieres at The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum, affectionately known as The Cheech, on the center’s grand opening on June 18, 2022, and will run through January 22, 2023. Guest curated by Selene Preciado, the exhibition features more than 70 mixed-media works, including blown-glass sculptures and installation art, plus some of the artists’ latest lenticulars with imagery that changes as the viewer moves from side to side.
This exhibition was made possible by a partnership between the Riverside Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino. When Collidoscope wraps up in Riverside early next year, it will embark on a national tour managed by CauseConnect. Confirmed venues to date include the Corning Museum of Glass, Crocker Art Museum, and the Art Museum of South Texas.
María Esther Fernández, who is The Cheech’s artistic director, said the de la Torre brothers are a natural fit for the center: “We are thrilled to showcase the de la Torre brothers’ innovative work and how it has come together under Selene Preciado’s thoughtful curatorial vision.” The de la Torre brothers are no strangers to The Cheech. In fact, they are the artists behind the center’s first commissioned art installation: a 26-foot-tall lenticular that stretches from the ground floor to the second story.
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, and now living both in San Diego and Baja California, the brothers have navigated life on both sides of the border since they were young and have inherited their own unique vision of the Latinx experience and American culture. Their work is visually complex and infused with humorous elements exploring art, history, and material culture. Working with glass, resin, lenticular prints and found objects, the brothers create work inspired by Mexican folk art, popular culture, religious imagery, consumer culture, and mythology. Many elements of the exhibition, including the title and curatorial framework, try to echo the creative process of the artists, serving as an allegory of their intellectual pursuits, their technical use of materials and media, and their use of wordplay and poetic riddles.
“The title of the exhibition mirrors the artists’ use of wordplay, alluding to the kaleidoscope-like quality of their works and the collision of imagery, themes, and references that comprise their artistic language,” said guest curator Selene Preciado. “The artists use critique layered with humor as a tool to unpack the tensions and contradictions of our postcolonial transcultural identity.”
Einar de la Torre said he and his brother don’t exactly consider themselves glass artists but treat glass as one component in their three-dimensional collages. The result, he said, speaks volumes about the Latino experience in America.
“The complexities of the immigrant experience and contradicting bicultural identities, as well as our current life and practice on both sides of the border, really propel our narrative and aesthetics,” he said. “We are truly honored to showcase our work at this historically significant center for Chicano art.”
Historic indeed. The Cheech is one of the nation’s first permanent spaces dedicated to showcasing Chicano art and culture. Visitors to The Cheech will have an opportunity to view paintings, drawings, sculptures and other works by some of the most respected Chicano artists in the world, people like Carlos Almaraz, Margaret Garcia, Wayne Alaniz Healy, Judithe Hernández, Frank Romero, and Patssi Valdez. The work is gifted from Marin, a third-generation Mexican-American comedian, filmmaker, actor, and art advocate who has spent the past four decades collecting Chicano art, including work by the de la Torre brothers.
Although the physical space for the National Museum of the American Latino is still in development, Smithsonian staff are working on virtual exhibitions and programs to assist in planning and fundraising. They are opening a preview exhibition in the museum’s Molina Family Latino Gallery—located in the National Museum of American History. This first exhibition kicks off June 18—the same day as the grand opening of The Cheech—with ¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States, which tells US history from the perspectives of the diverse Latinas and Latinos who lived it.
The openings of The Cheech and the Molina Family Latino Gallery are indicative of a larger movement to commemorate the culture and contributions of Latinos.
Eduardo Díaz, deputy director of the National Museum of the American Latino, said there is plenty to be excited about as two centers dedicated to Latino culture and education open on opposite ends of the nation, helping ensure that the Latino story is presented as an integral and important part of the American story.
“Collaborating with The Cheech allows us to extend the presence of the National Museum of the American Latino beyond the DC Beltway,” Díaz said. “And where better than California’s Inland Empire to emphasize the museum’s true national impact and importance?”
Tickets for opening day of June 18 are sold out, but admission for other dates to the Riverside Art Museum and The Cheech can be purchased at www.riversideartmuseum.org.
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About RAM and The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture: RAM is one museum with two locations: the Riverside Art Museum and The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, slated to open June 18, 2022, in downtown Riverside, the “City of Arts & Innovation”. RAM integrates art into the lives of people in a way that engages, inspires, and builds community by providing high quality exhibitions and art education programs that instill a lifelong love of the arts. RAM’s desire to further engage and serve the community was the impetus to create The Cheech, a public-private partnership between RAM, the City of Riverside, and comedian Cheech Marin—one of the world’s foremost collectors of Chicano art. Marin’s gift of approximately 500 works by Chicana/o/x artists— including the likes of Carlos Almaraz, Judithe Hernández, Gilbert “Magú” Luján, Sandy Rodriguez, Frank Romero, and Patssi Valdez—to RAM’s permanent collection makes the collection a repository for one of the largest holdings of Chicana/o/x art by a non-ethnic specific contemporary art museum. The Cheech is dedicated to showcasing Chicana/o/x art and honoring and exploring its continued social, cultural, and political impact through a comprehensive exhibitions program of the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions organized at the center, as well as nationally touring exhibitions that align with the center’s vision. The Cheech will work collaboratively with community partners to present thought-provoking educational programming that explores the complexity of Chicana/o/x culture not only through the visual arts, but in both music and film as well, recognizing that this art is evolving and expanding its definitions and parameters in response to current social conditions and in conversation with global artistic movements. For information about The Cheech, visit www.thecheechcenter.org. Find The Cheech on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thecheechcenter), Twitter (@thecheechcenter), and Instagram (@thecheechcenter).
About Cheech Marin: Cheech Marin is recognized today as a preeminent Chicano art advocate. In the mid-1980s, he began developing what is now arguably the finest private collection of Chicano art. In addition to artwork loans to numerous institutions, this notable collection has been featured in over a dozen exhibitions produced and shown at more than 50 museums in the U.S. and Europe to date, including the Smithsonian, LACMA, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Comprised of mostly paintings, followed by drawings, prints, and mixed-media artworks, sculptures and photography, his collection is the foundation of The Cheech. His goal for The Cheech for it to be THE premier center of Chicano art … locally connected, regionally based, nationally relevant, and internationally renowned.
About the National Museum of the American Latino: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino advances the representation, understanding and appreciation of Latino history and culture in the United States. The museum provides financial resources and collaborates with other museums to expand scholarly research, public programs, digital content, collections and more. The museum’s Molina Family Latino Gallery will be the Smithsonian’s first gallery dedicated to the Latino experience. The legislation creating the National Museum of the American Latino at the Smithsonian passed Dec. 27, 2020. Connect with the museum at latino.si.edu, and follow @USLatinoMuseum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About the de la Torre Brothers: Collaborating artists and brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre were born in Guadalajara, México (1963 and 1960, respectively) where they grew up until their family moved to California in 1972. They both studied at California State University at Long Beach and taught at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. Currently, the brothers live and work on both sides of the border (Ensenada, Baja California, México and San Diego, California). Since the mid-1990s, the brothers have collaborated in earnest and worked together to develop their signature style of mixed-media work with blown-glass sculpture and lenticular printing. Their pieces represent a multifaceted view of life that reflects a complex and humorous aesthetic that could be seen as baroque. Influences range from religious iconography to German expressionism while also paying homage to Mexican vernacular arts and pre-Columbian art. To date they have had 18 solo museum exhibitions in six different countries, completed eight major public art projects and have participated in four biennales. Their work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Cheech Marin Collection and they are recipients of the USA Fellowship Award, the San Diego Art Prize, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, among other honors. The de la Torre brothers are represented by Koplin Del Rio Gallery in Seattle, Washington. To learn more, visit www.delatorrebrothers.art.
About Selene Preciado: A Los Angeles-based independent curator, Selene Preciado has worked at the Getty Foundation since 2015. Preciado’s research interests include contemporary art and post-1960s conceptualist vanguards such as feminist art and performance art, with a special focus on Latin American art and its diaspora in the United States. Past curatorial projects include “Ser todo es ser parte/To be Whole is to be Part,” Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2020); “Customizing Language,” the inaugural exhibition of the Emerging Curators Program at LACE, co-curated with Idurre Alonso (2016); “José Montoya’s Abundant Harvest: Works on Paper/Works on Life,” Fowler Museum at UCLA, co-curated with Richard Montoya (2016); “In Search of an Exit (or Eight Characters in a Parlor),” Heritage Square Museum, co-curated with the USC MA Class of 2015 (2015); “MIXTAPE” (2013); and “Anywhere Better than this Place” (2012) at MOLAA. Prior to her current post, she worked as a curatorial research assistant at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), in 2013–2015. She worked at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) from 2009 to 2013 as an assistant curator. From 2005 to 2008, she worked as an exhibitions assistant at Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT), as a curatorial assistant at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA), and an exhibition coordinator for inSite_05. Preciado obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art from the University of California, San Diego, and holds a Master of Arts in Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere from the University of Southern California. Her master’s thesis examined the first years of production of feminist Mexican artist Mónica Mayer.