Grand Opening: ‘The Cheech’ Builds A Home For Chicano/a Art in Southern California
Not every collector wants to share their art with the world. Thankfully, Cheech Marin—yes, that Cheech Marin—isn’t one of them. On June 18, 2022, the longtime actor and comedian presents Cheech Collects, the inaugural exhibition at The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum—affectionately dubbed “The Cheech.”
Intended to visually narrate Cheech’s 40-year journey as an art collector, the exhibition features nearly 100 works from the comedian’s personal collection, generously gifted to the Riverside Art Museum in Southern California. Like Cheech, many of the artists included in Cheech Collects have strong ties to the Los Angeles area, while others hail from San Antonio and Corpus Christi, TX.
“These artists channeled their creativity into bold and innovative, aesthetically complex statements,” he says. “Not only are these works beautiful and complex, but they also raise visibility for social justice issues, and shape our popular, political, and cultural consciousness.”
Among the approximately 40 Chicano/a trailblazers included in Cheech Collects, visitors can expect to see work from Patssi Valdez, co-founder of the seminal Chicano/a artist collective Asco; Frank Romero, one of LA’s most iconic artists; and Judithe Hernández, who was among the first Chicana artists to break through the mainstream museum barrier.
For Cheech, the inaugural exhibition is a dream come true. “The art is the collection that I amassed over 40 or 50 years, touring it around the country,” he says. “This is a homecoming. This is an enshrinement in a permanent collection.” The wait, it appears, is finally over. Cheech Collects runs through December 2022; a second iteration of the inaugural exhibition will open in January 2023.
Also on view as the center’s temporary inaugural exhibition, Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective premieres at The Cheech on opening day. Developed in partnership between The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino, Collidoscope features over 70 mixed-media works from the de la Torre brothers. Inspired by Mexican folk art and pop culture, their work straddles the divide between Latinx and American cultures. The show is on view until January 22, 2023, at which point it embarks on a national tour.
The de la Torre brothers are also responsible for the center’s first commissioned work. As visitors flood through the entryway, they’ll come face-to-face with a giant Aztec earth goddess, the focal point of the brothers’ jaw-dropping, two-story lenticular installation (see above). “When I saw the initial renderings created by the brothers, I couldn’t wait to see the real thing,” Cheech says. “I knew it would be much more than I ever expected—and it is.”
Editor’s note: due to popular demand, tickets for opening day (June 18) are sold out. You can purchase tickets for other admission dates here. For date, location, and price information, please visit the Riverside Art Museum’s website here.
Scroll down for a selection of work from Cheech Collects, on view at The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture.
Scroll through for a selection of work from Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective.
All photos published with permission of the artist(s). Feature photo credit: Alan Amato.