June 18, 2022–May 14, 2023
Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective
June 18, 2022–January 22, 2023
LA Art Documents continues its series to travel beyond the borders of Los Angeles exploring contemporary artistic and cultural institutions. Here we highlight one of the best new additions to the California art scene that opened on June 18, 2022, which instantly became a must-see destination: The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum, also known simply as The Cheech.
The Cheech Museum signals a major advancement for the world to recognize the value of Chicano art, which has been largely ignored by the art world until recently. According to The Cheech, Chicano Art is a movement popularized by Americans of Mexican descent in the late 1960’s and known as “the art of struggle, protest, and identity.” Marin himself believes that Chicano Art possesses the real flavor of the Mexican-American community.
Cheech Marin became a popular comedian in movies as part of the stoner duo Cheech and Chong. A self-proclaimed “art-addict”, since 1985 Cheech Marin began investing the money made from his successful comedy career into collecting Chicano Art. His obsession is now a treasure for the community to proudly behold at the Cheech, which is home to some 550 works of contemporary art donated by Marin, including paintings, sculptures, video, and installations. His collection has toured 50 museums across the United States including The Smithsonian Museum in 2002.
After a record-breaking exhibition of works-on-paper from Marin’s collection at The Riverside Art Museum in 2017, a unique proposition was offered by the City of Riverside and the Riverside Art Museum to house and manage his donated collection in the old city library just one block from the Riverside Art Museum. 13 million dollars was invested in the renovation, ensuring that the 61,420-square-foot building transformed into a high-quality multi-function museum that includes: a multipurpose auditorium, a film screening room, an artist-in-residency center, a community artists’ gallery space in the lobby, massive exhibition spaces dedicated for Marin’s permanent collection and temporary special exhibitions.
The inaugural permanent exhibition on the first floor is entitled Cheech Collects, and contains around 100 works by 44 artists - that trace his history as a collector. It will take many years to fully view all 550 of his works.
The first temporary special exhibition on the second floor was Collidoscope: de la Torre Retro-Perspective, dedicated to the visionary and talented de la Torre brothers, which featured wild mixed-media blown-glass sculptures, installation art, and eye-dazzling lenticular pieces like the commissioned site-specific 26-foot tall monolith that spans both floors as it welcomes visitors upon arrival in the center of the lobby.
The Cheech Museum shines a brilliant light on Chicano Art, and stands as a proud beacon to attract visitors to the City of Riverside for generations to come. Tickets are required for entry and entrance times vary, visit RiversideArtMuseum.org for details.