ARTISTS TO KNOW
Updated: Jan 21, 2020
Miguel Covarrubias (Mexico City 1904-1957) was a painter, illustrator, art historian, and ethnologist. As a young man he went to New York City where he became famous for his caricatures and drawings for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Our PuroChisme website mural image was inspired by his work.
He was an avid fan of the Harlem jazz scene, and compiled several books of 'negro' drawings. His book on Bali is still in print, and his many illustrated books are now collectors' items (you can find them on ebay).
His series of billboard size maps from a world expo in San Francisco (1940) have been shown in several Mexican museums. Covarrubias painted six murals in San Francisco with his assistant Antonio Ruiz, and developed a new technique that used pigment in a nitrocellulose adhesive on Masonite. The mural set featured oversized, illustrated maps entitled: The Fauna and Flora of the Pacific, Peoples, Art and Culture, Economy, Native Dwellings, and Native Means of Transportation.
The murals were immensely popular and were later exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Upon returning to San Francisco, five of the murals were installed at the World Trade Club in the Ferry Building where they hung until 2001 under the stewardship of the Port of San Francisco. The whereabouts of the sixth mural, Art and Culture, are unknown and has been the subject of great speculation throughout the world.
The Cheech Marin Art and Cultural Center,
The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry is scheduled to be open in 2021. The Cheech Center will be housed across the street from the historic Mission Inn, in a 61,420-square-foot facility, which was originally opened to the public as the Riverside Public Library in 1964.
The Cheech is a perfect adaptive reuse of this mid-century building and the historic and vintage aspects will be preserved in its transformation from a library to a museum and cultural center. Cheech says, the “center of Chicano art, are not only painting, but sculpture, photography, and video arts.” Opening in 2021, The Cheech explores Chicano culture from the barrio to the Bay, cholos to Cesar Chavez, pre-Columbian to modern murals.
In addition to artwork loans to numerous institutions, Cheech’s Chicano art collection has been featured in over a dozen exhibitions produced and shown at more than 50 museums in the U.S. and Europe, including the Smithsonian, LACMA, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco.
The list of Chicano artists in Cheech’s collection currently numbers more than 70. Artists include Carlos Almaraz, Chaz Bojórquez, Pablo Andres Cristi, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Gaspar Enríquez, Margaret García, CiCi Segura González, Raul Guerrero, Gronk, Wayne Alaniz Healy, Adán Hernández, Leo Limón, Gilbert “Magu” Luján, César A. Martínez, Frank Romero, Ricardo Ruiz, Eloy Torrez, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Jaime “Germs“ Zacarias, and Vincent Valdez.