July 30, 2021

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Cheech Marin Chicano art center in Riverside names director

4 min read

The Cheech Marin Heart for Chicano Artwork & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum has named María Esther Fernández as its artistic director, the center’s best write-up and the person who will steer the curatorial and programming visions for the undertaking below enhancement in the previous Riverside Public Library.

“The Cheech,” as it’s referred to, is scheduled to open May perhaps 8. It will feature Marin’s personalized collection of about 700 things along with will work on financial loan from artists, collectors and other institutions. It will also existing touring exhibitions.

The heart is a community-non-public partnership involving the city of Riverside, the Riverside Art Museum and Marin, the third-generation Mexican American and film and Tv set actor who’s been accumulating Chicanx artwork for four a long time.

María Esther Fernández, artistic director of the Cheech Marin Heart for Chicano Artwork & Tradition.

(Charlie Pizarro)

In the Tuesday announcement, Marin said Fernández brings “a prosperity of experience and knowledge in Chicano art historical past that aligns effectively with the Cheech.”

Fernández comes to the Cheech from the Triton Museum of Artwork in Santa Clara, Calif., exactly where she labored for 16 many years and most a short while ago served as main curator and deputy director. She been given a 2018 California Arts Council grant to exploration how curatorial procedures impact representation and access for the Chicanx neighborhood in present-day art museums. She’s co-curating a retrospective of function by Amalia Mesa-Bains that will premiere at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Movie Archive in spring 2023.

A major priority at the Cheech, Fernández mentioned, is to “expand the narrative of Chicanx artwork.”

“We have an option to leverage this wonderful selection and museum assets in a concentrated way,” she stated, “in the enhancement of ground breaking local community programming, in the enhancement of scholarship, addressing gaps in American art background and gaps in the collection — growing the selection — to seriously create critical dialogue around what Chicanx artwork is and can be.”

Fernández’s vision for the museum is intricately tied to her history. The daughter of immigrants, she was born in Chicago and grew up in Inglewood in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. It was a time, she stated, “where there was rampant anti-immigrant sentiment, the L.A. uprising right after the Rodney King verdicts, and all of people ordeals were formative. And a lot of of people problems we’re nevertheless dealing with currently.”

People activities led Fernández to main in Chicanx and ethnic scientific studies at UC Berkeley, exactly where she was mentored by artists these kinds of as Celia Herrera Rodríguez and Yolanda López, whose work is educated by the Chicano movement. She later acquired a master’s degree in visual and critical experiments from California College or university of the Arts in San Francisco. Her academic scientific studies, she claimed, led to a deeper understanding of the marginalization of Chicanx artwork in the bigger artwork globe.

“So I’m searching at developing programs and curating exhibitions that communicate to individuals gaps,” she mentioned. “And wondering about how museum practices can perpetuate marginalization and viewing a vital require to establish equitable techniques.”

The Cheech will show paintings, drawings and prints as properly as sculpture, photography, installations, mixed media performs and online video artwork. The Countrywide Museum of Mexican Artwork in Chicago and the Mexican Museum in San Francisco, amongst other people, have collections of Chicanx art, but Marin has been at the forefront of collecting in the style, Fernández stated.

“This is a incredibly big selection,” she said. “I cannot say it’s the most significant, mainly because there are collectors in Texas and California, but it has been the most traveled and published about. There have been lots of, lots of exhibitions on it, it has toured all through the region, so in that regard, it is really vital.”

The Cheech will open with an set up of picked performs from Marin’s assortment. The inaugural non permanent exhibition will be by Mexican-born artists the De La Torre brothers.Collidoscope: A De La Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective” was arranged by the Riverside Art Museum in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Centre.

Fernández hopes the exhibits will spark dialogue.

“The entire function of the curatorial plan for me, the complete target, would be that it actually complicate our conversations close to Chicanx artwork,” she mentioned.

A ton of men and women imagine of Chicanx artwork as art that came out of the motion — and that is the foundation, the grounding for the function, Fernández mentioned. But above the many years, the get the job done has developed.

“There’s a ton of dialogue to have,” she explained. “Hopefully the collection and the heart will be a catalyst for that, a location in which all those conversations can just take area.”

Fernández assumes her posture in August.

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