Actor and art collector Cheech Marin visited Cal State LA to celebrate the life and works of renowned artist and master printmaker Richard Duardo.
Marin spoke at the Oct. 10 opening of an exhibition of serigraphic artworks by Duardo and artists he worked with as a master printmaker. The exhibit, at the University’s Fine Arts Gallery, was filled with guests who appreciated the vibrant and moving works of Chicano artists and heard Marin discuss his longtime friendship with Duardo, who passed away in 2014.
“Richard was a great artist,” Marin told the standing-room-only audience. “You are very privileged to have this show here.”
Marin owns one of the largest private collections of Chicano art in the world and is the author of Chicano Visions, which features 96 dynamic and poignant paintings from more than two dozen artists. Marin is also the author of the recently published Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper from the Collection of Cheech Marin.
Duardo was born in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, just a short distance from Cal State LA, and he graduated from Franklin High School in Highland Park. He is credited with creating “Latino Pop” and was a pivotal figure in the Chicano art community. After graduating with an MFA at UCLA, Duardo returned to the Eastside and worked at the iconic Self Help Graphics, and then helped found Centro de Arte Publico in Highland Park, which became a focal point of art and political activism. He later established Modern Multiples, a print studio that was integral to the growing downtown Los Angeles art scene.
Duardo utilized pop culture and political figures, featuring images of Che Guevara, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Mao Tse-Tung, among others. He used serigraphy and a graphic sensibility to reflect his interest in capturing the energy of sub-cultures such as punk, rave and street art. As a master printmaker, Duardo produced for such acclaimed artists as Banksy, David Hockney, Shepard Fairey, Keith Haring and Gary Panter.
Duardo's exhibit at the Fine Arts Gallery features works from leading Chicano artists, including Cal State LA alumni Carlos Almaraz, Chaz Bojorquez and Frank Romero. The exhibit is an impressive array of work that highlights the social and cultural underpinnings of the Chicano community.
Marin noted that Duardo was always willing to support young artists, especially Chicanos from the Eastside neighborhoods served by Cal State LA.
“He was a great artist, and he came from this neighborhood,” Marin said. “You can be at the center of your community and the world at the same time.”
The exhibit runs through Nov. 2, when a Day of the Dead closing memorial will feature altars and artist presentations.
Photo: Actor and art collector Cheech Marin talks about his friendship with renowned artist Richard Duardo. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)
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