Roberto Chavez and The False University: A Retrospective
September 13 to December 6, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 13, 4 to 6 p.m.
VPAM presents a retrospective of legendary visual artist, Roberto Chavez. This is the artist’s first retrospective in the Los Angeles area. Chavez grew up in East Los Angeles, earned his MFA from UCLA, and joined the East Los Angeles College faculty in the 1960s as a pioneering educator in the college’s fledgling Chicano Studies Department.
More than fifty artworks dating from the late-1940s to the present are included in the exhibition. Subjects range from self-portraits to portraits of friends and family, as well as works that allude to socioeconomic conditions of the working class. The artist’s distinctive, sympathetic commentary on the human condition ties together the work in this wide-ranging show.
The exhibition includes a full-color, 48-page catalog with original essays by co-curators Sybil Venegas and William Moreno. Venegas writes about the impact Chavez had as an educator and mentor to students and artists. She also focuses on the controversial whitewashing of Chavez’s mural, The Path to Knowledge and the False University, which occurred on the East Los Angeles College campus in 1979. Moreno focuses on Chavez’s powerful portraiture and its connection to contemporary art.
The catalogue for this exhibition was made possible by the Union Pacific Foundation.