|All day-Mar 8th|| First Street Gallery|
Humboldt State University’s First Street Gallery presents a selection of prints and posters from the 1970s and 1980s by the Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF). The RCAF is a Sacramento, Calif. based artist collective founded in 1970 by José Montoya and Esteban Villa. The art within this collection encapsulates the early, heady days of activism by the United Farm Workers movement in California. In viewing these prints, the audience will come away with a nuanced appreciation for the cultural and political aspirations of the Chicano community during that period. The art featured in this exhibition will be on loan from the permanent collection of California State University, Sacramento, curated by Phil Hitchcock, director of the university’s Library Gallery.
The RCAF is best known for its mural paintings, poster art production, and individual artistic contributions. The artists of the RCAF have produced murals and exhibitions ranging from San Diego, California to Seattle, Washington. The RCAF is significant as a collective that has maintained a forty-five year history of engaging communities to express their Chicano culture, history and struggle for civil and labor rights. Many of the artists involved with the RCAF have also worked as educators in schools, community colleges and universities. Some members have taught in prisons, youth correctional facilities and neighborhood community centers.
Some of the work in the collection consists of posters that were created in order to promote community events such as dances, performances and other fundraisers which helped gain financial support for their activities as a collective. These community fundraising events were held at theatres and parks in Sacramento and helped support farm workers struggling against the exploitative work policies of large agricultural companies. These promotional posters are functional works of art. RCAF artists such as Louie “The Foot” Gonzalez, José Montoya and Rodolfo “Rudy” Cuellar, among others, created posters with a colorful and creative sense of design that also serve primarily as a method of spreading information to the community.
In addition to promotional posters, the collection also has political posters that bring attention to the issues surrounding Chicano and Latino culture both in the United States and abroad. Notable examples include a poster in support of The Salvadoran People’s Committee during the civil war in El Salvador from 1979 to 1992. Similarly, there are posters that support the socio-political advancement of Chicano culture. For example, RCAF artists created posters in support of community programs like bilingual education and creative Chicano Medicine at the University of California, Davis.
The exhibition will run from January 27 through March 8. A public reception for the exhibition will be held during Eureka Main Street’s Arts Alive on Saturday, February 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. First Street Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is located at 422 First Street, Eureka, California. Admission is free. School groups are encouraged to call ahead for tours. For more information, please call (707) 443-6363. To learn more about HSU First Street Gallery visit the website humboldt.edu/first.
|All day-Mar 8th|| First Street Gallery|
Humboldt State University First Street Gallery presents, Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection. Chicanitas, is a traveling exhibition of small to medium-sized paintings selected from the acclaimed, private art collection of actor-entertainer, Cheech Marin. The collection is a vibrant, compelling selection of art offering a window into contemporary Chicano culture. The exhibition opens Tuesday, January 27 and runs through Sunday, March 8.
Mr. Marin, who became famous as a member of the 1960s-70s counter-culture comedy duo, Cheech and Chong, has had a long and successful career as an actor in films, television and on the stage. In the visual arts world, Marin is widely recognized as a tireless champion, promoter and collector of Chicano art. ‘It’s something very immediate and visceral when I choose artwork…when you see it, you know it,” says Marin of his passion for art collecting.
In this particular collection of emerging and established Chicano and Chicana artists, Mr. Marin has turned his affections toward paintings 16 inches square and smaller. Of his interest in small paintings Mr. Marin remarks, “I saw how the people were intrigued by them because they were such wonderful little works of art, self contained…they drew you in. You become more intimate with these small paintings…it has its own idiosyncratic take on what Chicano painting is ”
Whether on canvas, wood, copper, or paper, each painting’s intimate size reflects an internal, personal portrayal of the artist’s life and community. As each complete piece conveys its own story, themes and forms of expression familiar to the Latino community and the broader American culture begin to emerge. Mr. Marin sees something different in these small paintings from those in his collection of Chicano Art from the mid-60s and 70s. “I saw in them something special,” says Marin. “How they kind of represent the new breed of Chicano painters.”
Established figures such as John Valadez and Leo Limón will be featured alongside the works of younger emerging artists such as Ana Teresa Fernández and Carlos Donjuán. These paintings present intimate, personal scenes of familiar landscapes, social communities, familial relationships, and cultural heritage. Ranging in style from photo-realism to abstract, landscape and portraiture, the variety of styles and themes come together to form an expressive collection that represents the complexity of the Chicano experience.
Chicanitas, is partially funded by a grant from the College of Arts and Humanities at Humboldt State University and by the Associated Student’s Instructionally Related Activities Fund as well as by numerous donors from the community.
The exhibition will run from January 27 through March 8. A public reception for the exhibition will be held during Eureka Main Street’s Arts Alive on Saturday, February 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. First Street Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is located at 422 First Street, Eureka, California. Admission is always free. School groups are encouraged to call ahead for tours. For more information, please call (707) 443-6363. To learn more about HSU First Street Gallery, visit the gallery’s website at humboldt.edu/first.