Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Crocker Art Museum to do 4-month exhibit of Chicano work

Exhibition: Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo (Testamento del espíritu: Pinturas de Eduardo Carrillo)
Venue: Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street, Sacramento, CA
Dates: June 24 – October 7, 2018

Above: Eduardo Carrillo, Testament of the Holy Spirit, 1971.Oil on panel, 47 3/4 x 60 in.
Crocker Art Museum Purchase with funds from the Maude T. Pook Acquisition Fund, 1972.24
Sacramento, Calif. – In June 2018, the Crocker Art Museum will bring to Sacramento an expansive exhibition of works by Eduardo Carrillo, a painter, teacher, and social activist known for advancing recognition of Chicano art and culture in California. His large-scale oil paintings have been described as mystical, surreal, and visionary, while his intimate watercolors reflect the artist’s daily life in self-portraits, still lifes, and images of people and places he held dear. Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo (Testamento del espíritu: Pinturas de Eduardo Carrillo) reflects on the artist’s relationship to his native California as well as to his Mexican heritage, his early religious upbringing, and the European tradition of art.
Eduardo Carrillo, Self Portrait, 1960 Oil on canvas, 84 x 132 in. 
Crocker Art Museum, Promised Gift of Juliette Carrillo and Ruben Carrillo.
This bilingual exhibition features more than 60 paintings and watercolors spanning nearly four decades of the artist’s production, from the late 1950s through the late 1990s. Works on view include a promised gift to the Crocker by members of the Carrillo family, as well as two works in the Crocker’s permanent collection.
Stated the Museum’s Executive Director and CEO, Lial Jones, "It is no coincidence that our exhibition title comes from the painting Testament of the Holy Spirit, which Eduardo Carrillo painted in his Sacramento home, and was acquired by the Crocker in the 1970s. We have long collected and exhibited works of art that reflect the diversity of our community, and I am pleased that we are able to present an entire exhibition of Carrillo's work, and highlight a bit of Sacramento's Chicano history."
Born in Santa Monica, California, Eduardo Carrillo (1937–1997) grew up in Los Angeles. In 1960, he studied for a year at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, where he also assisted with the restoration of a church altar. As he immersed himself in studies of the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, Giorgio de Chirico, El Greco, Diego Velázquez, and other European artists at the Museo del Prado, Carrillo found life-long inspiration that informed his own style and sense of aesthetics.
Eduardo Carrillo, Las Tropicanas, 1972–73. Oil on panel, 84 x 132 in.
Crocker Art Museum, Promised Gift of Juliette Carrillo and Ruben Carrillo.
After returning to the U.S. and earning a BFA (1962) and MFA (1964) from the University of California, Los Angeles, Carrillo taught at the University of California, San Diego’s extension program. He then moved to his paternal ancestral home in Baja, where he and his first wife, Sheila, founded El Centro Regional de Arte in La Paz, to help revive the area’s local art traditions. He returned to the U.S. in 1969, and joined the Chicano civil rights movement El Movimiento, advancing to the forefront of the cause. During this time, Carrillo collaborated with three other artists to complete the nine-paneled Chicano History (1970) for the Chicano Studies Research Center at University of California, Los Angeles—the first Chicano history mural to be painted at a university in the United States. After the violent events of the Chicano Moratorium of August 1970 in Los Angeles, Carrillo moved to Northern California to accept a teaching position at California State University, Sacramento, and was involved briefly in the Royal Chicano Air Force, an artists’ collective.
Said Crocker Art Museum Associate Curator Kristina Gilmore:
“Carrillo’s time in Sacramento was brief—just two years—but was truly a turning point, as it coincided with his growing interest in Chicano art and political activism. He took these passions with him to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he introduced Chicano art into the curriculum and organized Chicano events and festivals."
In the early 1980s, working with Philip Brookman and Tomás Ybarra Frausto, he organized and directed the multiyear, statewide initiative, Califas: Chicano Art and Culture in California. This groundbreaking conference included lectures, exhibitions, oral histories, videos, workshops, and performances. The landmark event continues to inform and influence the way Chicano art and culture are considered and presented, just as Carrillo’s art sustains connection and continues to inspire.
Eduardo Carrillo, Untitled (Still Life with Santo Niño Candle), 1989.
Watercolor on paper, 15 1/4 x 11 1/4 in. Private collection, Davis, California.
“As seen in his artwork, teaching, and social activism, Carrillo never walked away from efforts to eliminate the racism that spurred the civil rights movement,” said Guest Curator Susan Leask. “He was an inspirational leader and visionary with ability to bring people together in collaborative and efficacious ways, as he addressed racism and injustice throughout his career. He was very passionate about creating programs and platforms that promoted greater awareness of Latin American culture, aesthetics, and social concerns, and that passion can be seen in his art.”
As this exhibition highlights the artist’s creative efforts and social importance, it features work created for three distinct realms: public, private, and museum. Viewers may see evidence of Carrillo’s appreciation for Renaissance and Baroque art, pre-conquest sculpture, and the artists and culture of Baja California, Mexico.
“Eduardo was beloved by all who were lucky enough to know him personally—he had a puckish sense of humor that is evident in many of his paintings," said Gilmore. I think visitors will have a great experience, especially those who take the time to look closely. In his larger works, they’ll find bold color and mysterious, dreamlike imagery, with frequent references to the history of art—like visual riddles. On the other hand, his smaller watercolors are often more subtle and down-to-earth; they offer a glimpse into Eduardo’s own life and charm.”
A bilingual video by Pedro Pablo Celedón, “Eduardo Carrillo: A Life of Engagement”, will be on view in the exhibition. Wall text describing the art and the artist, as well as labels for the individual works on view in the exhibition, will be offered in both English and Spanish. 
Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo (Testamento del espíritu: Pinturas de Eduardo Carrillo) is organized by Crocker Art Museum and curated by Guest Curator Susan Leask. It will be on view at the Crocker Art Museum June 24 – October 7, 2018.
This exhibition is accompanied by a full-color, bilingual catalogue with contributions by exhibition guest curator Susan Leask, Philip Brookman, Gilberto Cárdenas, Maureen Davidson, Michael Duncan, Tim Drescher, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Tere Romo, and Christina Waters. The catalogue will be available for purchase in the Crocker Art Museum Store.

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