FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES, CA – May 6, 2014, The city of Los Angeles has nearly always been considered a place for dreams. From the Franciscan missionaries to pioneer travelers, from surfers to poets and beyond – this place has a hold on our imagination with its siren song of new beginnings. Its history is woven inextricably with the bands of discovery, conquest and re-birth. Yet time and again, this region has revealed its own truth: it is not to be defined by man-made borders as much as it is by ideas.
The art world of Gilbert “Magu” Luján has always spoken to this truth. His exuberant creations pulsate with life and humor, belying the political passions of a leader of the Chicanismo movement. This native son of Southern California continually embraced the idea of Los Angeles as Aztlán and Aztlán as Los Angeles. The Getty Foundation – in conjunction with UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts and the Luján Family – is proud to announce the inclusion of Gilbert Luján’s work in the 2017 edition of Pacific Standard Time: L.A./L.A., an exploration of the exchange of ideas between the city of Los Angeles, Latin America and the Latin American diaspora.
Hal Glicksman, lead curator of the research and exhibition project, describes Lujan’s work as “Cool School meets Chicano identity…Luján was a pioneer in redefining art as post-modern. Not ‘art about art’ in an empty white space but art about life, made of the world around us and meant for everyone to enjoy.” Now with support from The Getty Foundation, a team of researchers will be tasked with uncovering and exploring the spatial reconceptualization of Los Angeles and Mexico as represented in Magulandia (how the artist referred to the space in which he lived and produced his work and, conceptually, to his work as a whole.) The future exhibition will focus on understanding the iconography and nuanced symbolism found in Luján’s art and revealing it for a new and wider audience to partake in the richness of Latino culture and heritage.
Gilbert Luján’s coming of age coincided with the birth of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement – El Movimiento – which gave shape and purpose to his artistic expression. Forsaking the typical parameters of history and art in favor of a more accurate telling of the tribal stories of Los Angeles, Luján relentlessly pursued the ideals of El Movimiento and its goals became the fuel which sparked the creativity of Los Four and many other Chicano artists of his time. “Magu became the most vocal proponent of Chicanismo, tirelessly promoting an alternative view to the still dominant Western tradition and re-invigorating it with both a renewed social conscience and Latin passion,” observed author and arts educator Peter Clothier.
Indeed, Luján made Chicanismo the banner under which young, brash Latin artists rode past the guarded gates of the art world and changed the story arc forevermore. This generous grant for Pacific Standard Time: L.A./L.A. by The Getty Foundation recognizes the far-reaching impact of Luján’s body of work – a canon that represents the lost and the legendary, the physical and the mythical. Born beyond the confines of a staid world, it is to be continually experienced as a place where struggle and imagination come together to form their own peaceable kingdom.
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