Palm Springs Desert Museum
Palm Springs, CA
Working-Class Heroes: Images from the Popular Culture
End of the Trail (with Electric Sunset), 1971, fiberglass with urethane finish, electric lighting, 84 x 84 x 30 inches, collection of the University of Texas at El Paso
A mid-career retrospective exhibition of the work of Luis Jimenez opens on July 25 through October 4 at the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Luis Jimenez: Working-Class Heroes: Images from the Popular Culture features a group of 70 large-scale fiber-lass sculptures, working models, paintings, drawings, and prints by this celebrated Mexican American artist. The colorful exuberance that is unmistakably Jimenez is evident in this exhibition covering 30 years of the artist's career, from 1967 to the present. Featuring work inspired by personal history as well as contemporary social and political issues, it is the first major traveling exhibition of Jimenez's work.
Jimenez was raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas, where he worked in his father's sign shop and mastered the techniques of welding and spray-painting. From the beginning, Jimenez has combined popular culture and imagery, Chicano style and political content, and craft with a sophisticated awareness of "high art" technique and imagery. In 1966, he went to New York after a period of study in Mexico City with the muralist Francisco Zuninga. In New York, Jimenez's imagery, reflecting, a fascination with popular culture-cars, music, sex, plastic-was almost immediately accepted into the current artworld trend of Pop Art. In 1971, he returned to the Southwest where his work became more focused upon an examination and celebration of Chicano culture and myth and their relationship to contemporary events and the people who live them.
Luis Jimenez: Working-Class Heroes: Images from the Popular Culfure celebrates the uncommon strength and endurance of the common people who have inspired many of Jimenez's oftentimes controversial public sculpture projects. Included in this exhibition are monumental versions of Sodbuster, San Isidro (1981), Southwest Pieti (1984), and Border Crossing (Cruzando Fl Rio Bravo) (1989), all three of which have inspired heated debates within the communities of their public-commission sites.
This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a non-profit regional arts organization sponsored by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. Additional support is provided to ExhibitsUSA by the H&R Block Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Phillips Petroleum Foundation, and the Union Pacific Foundation. Mid-America Arts Alliance is assisted by its partner state arts agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts, and private contributors.
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