The exhibition “Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper from the Collection of Cheech Marin” is currently on exhibit at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas. As the title suggests, these works are a small part of a collection of over 700 pieces belonging to the comedian, actor, director, author, Chicano art collector, and art advocate, Cheech Marin.
“Papel Chicano Dos” presents 65 artworks by 24 established and emerging artists, such as Benito Huerta, Margaret García, Carlos Donjuán, Frank Romero, and Sonya Fe.
The work demonstrates a myriad of techniques from watercolor and aquatint to pastel and mixed media, dates from the late 1980s to present day, and offers iconic imagery with influences ranging from pre-Hispanic symbols and post-revolutionary nationalistic Mexican motifs to Chicano movement of the 1960s and contemporary urban culture.
It is truly special that this exhibition could come to Wichita Falls because, in the near future, his Chicano art collection will be donated to the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry. The state of California recently approved a $9.7 million dollar grant to go along with the $3 million raised by Cheech and the community of Riverside that will renovate the former library. Marin said, “I have dreamed for many years of finding a home for the hundreds of pieces of art that I have spent much of my life collecting, protecting and showing, when possible, at major museums around the world. The Riverside community has made this a reality.”
“The Cheech,” as Marin prefers to call it, will open in 2021.
On September 19, Cheech Marin gave the talk, “Chicano Art: Perspectives of an Art Advocate,” at 6 p.m. in the Fain Fine Arts Center Theatre. After a question and answer session, he had a book signing and gallery reception at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Early that morning, he gave a very personal gallery talk to a large group of Midwestern State University students.
I wanted to highlight some personal stories and experiences from the community in regards to that day:
Gonzalo Robles, Owner & Founder of the Café con Leche Educational Organization.
“Our work is mainly with underserved, first generation and minority students. For the event and Exhibit, I had 27 high school and college students in attendance. It was powerful to watch their body language and interest evolve from the beginning of the show to the end. As we exited the theater to go to the exhibit at the museum, you could see a new profound pride displayed in their posture and being. Their eyes were brighter, faces were full of smiles and their bodies stood taller with shoulders back. You could sense their pride in our culture and the art that emanates from it. The students learned more about Latino artists at the exhibit as they interacted with other informed art lovers. Since the event, I’ve observed our students as more self-assured and prideful about themselves and their culture. To conclude, I honestly do not think I can fully describe the impact or significance the lecture or exhibit played in our students’ lives. One word to describe the evening would be transformational.”
Dr. Martin Camacho, Dean of College of Fine Arts, Midwestern State University:
“This was an experience, not just an event, which made me proud to be associated with MSU. The content and vision of this event was a dream come true for the mission of both the university and the museum. It brought together community, faculty, staff, students, donors, old visitors and new visitors, and a relevant topic that engaged us all in a productive discussion. The arts at work. “
Gary Goldberg, Professor of Art/Gallery Director, Midwestern State University
“About 40 art students and several art professors from Midwestern State University were able to spend two magical hours with Cheech Marin at Wichita Falls Museum of Art viewing Papel Chicano Dos. This was one of my most memorable experiences in my 35 years with the University. Cheech spoke enthusiastically and passionately about the 65 works on view. Cheech really knew the artwork and artists intimately. He had a great rapport with the students. The conversations moved from art, issues dealing with Chicano cultural subjects, and bringing focus to under-represented communities. We all learned much on this visit, Cheech Marin helped us all learn and appreciate the rich cultural history of Chicano art. I will not forget this day at the Wichita Falls Museum, Midwestern State University!”
There was an incredible amount of excitement
with everyone involved. When the day concluded, Cheech told me, “Of all the things I have going on right now, I enjoy doing this the most.” As a curator, this will stand out in my mind as a one of a kind experience.
I want to encourage everyone to come to the Wichita Falls Museum of Art and see this wonderful exhibition. I was told that this was the last time the work would tour in this fashion. Be sure not to miss it.
The events and exhibition were made possible by the generous support of Betsy and Bryant Medders.
The exhibition continues through December 1, 2018.
Interim Director/Curator of
Collections and Exhibitions
Wichita Falls Museum of Art
at MSU Texas