• July 25th, 2021
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Influential and Prolific Career of Carlos Frésquez


Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) Center for Visual Art (CVA) announces Sangre Colorado: Carlos Frésquez Mid-Career Survey, an exhibition that features work spanning forty years of the influential and prolific career of Denver’s own Carlos Frésquez. A celebrated Chicano artist, Frésquez’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in major collections. In his paintings, prints, and installations Frésquez honors his Chicano background and pulls in varied influences from punk and pop culture to modern masters, blending visual and cultural cues with both reverence and humor.

Photo: Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) Center for Visual Art “Calaca” by Carlos Frésquez.

All events are free and open to the public:

-The CVA will host an Opening Reception on January 12, 6-8pm with music by DJ Dizzy D.

-Carlos Frésquez Artist Talk, March 7, 5:30pm

-Closing Reception and Poetry Reading, March 24, 4–6pm, Join Carlos in a ceremonial repainting of the walls, erasing the temporary murals while reflecting on their content.

-First and Third Fridays: 6–8pm, open late for viewing and art making.

-Young Artist Studio: Mural Painting Tuesdays & Thursdays, January 9–March 22, 3:30–5:30pm. Free and open workshops for ages 11-21.

The exhibition and catalog begin with artwork Frésquez made as an undergraduate student in the 1970s, a time when the Chicano Rights movement was gaining momentum in Denver. Frésquez brought Chicano culture into the classroom as a student through visual representation in his artwork, and by demanding discussion of Chicano art in history courses. As a professor Frésquez continues to bring the conversation of equality and rights into the classroom and into his artwork. Through his artwork we see Frésquez’s reverence (and sometimes irreverence) for Chicano and Mexican tradition alongside pop culture and modern art references that situate Chicano art among the progression of contemporary art.

Photo: Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) Center for Visual Art “Cubist Cholo” by Carlos Frésquez.

The intention behind Frésquez’s work is often to make the viewer reexamine commonly accepted beliefs about the human condition and the façade of hierarchy among different groups of people. The title of the exhibition, “Sangre Colorado” is an example of Carlos’s playful use of language paired with imagery to convey meaning that is on one level humorous, but with a serious message behind the pun. The use of Sangre, Spanish for “blood” and Colorado, which means “red color” together are a play on the colloquialism, “red-blooded American.” Like that of many self-identifying Chicano/as, Carlos’s family has lived in Colorado for several generations. As he says, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

From his early abstract work, to his layered multimedia paintings as half of the Los Supersonicos artist duo, to his set design and the reoccurring motif of the curtain, the exhibition travels the wide span of Frésquez’s career trajectory.

CVA will produce a 100-page catalogue for the exhibition that will include a larger depth and breadth of Frésquez’s oeuvre than can be shown in the gallery. Essay writers will illuminate his career as it pertains to the Chicano Art Movement, the Colorado art scene, and from his personal and academic perspectives.

Through teaching, both as a professor of art at Metropolitan State University of Denver, as well as in many community outreach programs, Frésquez has mentored thousands of students to find their voice and tell their story through art. In honor of his significant impact, CVA’s 965 Student-Run Gallery will present Extra Credit, an invitational exhibition featuring new work by over 40 of Frésquez’s former students.

Carlos Frésquez brought Chicano culture into the classroom as a student through visual representation in his artwork, and by demanding discussion of Chicano art in history courses.

As a further demonstration of Frésquez’s impact on the community, The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council has committed a full wall in their gallery to exhibit additional works by Carlos Frésquez. Recognizing One of Our Own will be on display for the month of February with an Reception and Book Signing Friday, February 16, 6-8pm. Additionally, Frésquez will be featured in group exhibitions at the Museo de las Américas in Denver and at the Arvada Center for the Arts concurrently with the CVA exhibition.

CVA Annual Sponsors are MSU Denver Student Affairs Board, Jan and Fred Mayer Fund, Marcia Gold Naiman Fund, Campbell Foundation Fund, Otten Johnson Robinson Neff Ragonetti PC and BBVA Compass Bank, Delta Dental, SpringHill Suites Downtown at MSU Denver.

For more information, visit msudenver.edu/cva.

The CVA is located at 965 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado, 80204, 303-294-5207. Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 11am-6pm, Saturday: 12pm-5pm. Closed Sunday and Monday, and for installation between exhibitions. The center is free and open to all.

 

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