Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College is pleased to present Carlos Almaraz: A Life Recalled, a solo show paying tribute to one of Los Angeles’s great twentieth-century visual artists. Carlos Almaraz: A Life Recalled opens August 25 and continues to December 8, 2012, and is organized by Karen Rapp with Dan Guerrero and Elsa Flores Almaraz.
Carlos Almaraz: A Life Recalled is a chronological survey of the artist Carlos Almaraz that draws from perspectives of those who cared for and knew him best. The show traces the trajectory of Carlos’s life: earliest years in Mexico; childhood in East LA; travails in New York; an awakening to the Chicano Movement and participation in Los Four collective; domestic bliss as a husband and father; recognition as a rising Los Angeles studio art star; and victim of AIDS.
Carlos Almaraz (b. 1941, Mexico City, Mexico – 1989, Los Angeles, CA) is a legendary figure in the Los Angeles art community, particularly within the Chicano art scene that developed during the 1970s. It is impossible to sum him and his career up in a single category. As much as he espoused the tenets of social activism, he also was a practicing studio artist in Los Angeles who transcended the identification with one group. He is known as much for his work with the United Farm Workers as he is for creating some of Los Angeles’s most expressive and freshest artwork in the 1980s. By transcending a fixed identity, he opened the path for future Mexican American artists to explore their own creative paths. His legacy as an artist, activist, father, husband and friend are addressed within the context of this show.
As varied and complex as the artist himself, this exhibition is comprised of fine art paintings, drawings, and prints, as well as biographical materials including rare photographs, personal letters and journals. Carlos Almaraz: A Life Recalled will consist of more than 100 selected artworks and ephemeral materials. Many pieces have never before been seen by the public.
Several of the artworks in the show are instantly recognizable as an “Almaraz”– vibrant depictions of car crashes and melancholic scenes of Echo Park. These career-making works have remained icons of Los Angeles’s urban life for more than thirty years. Other scenes are more intimate and explore the artist’s family and childhood friendships mixed together with themes of sexuality, existentialism and death.
Lenders to the show include personal friends and collaborators Elsa Flores Almaraz, Ken Brecher and Rebecca Rickman, Barbara Carrasco, Roberto Gil de Montes, Dan Guerrero, Judithe Hernandez, Louie Perez, Richard Read, Frank Romero, John Valadez, Lupe and Luis Valdez, among others.