The Autry Presents La Cena Salon Series

With artist Chaz Boj??rquez, actor Clifton Collins, Jr., Ozomatli lead singer Ra??l Pacheco, and others, April 18

By Teresa Borden
Published on LatinoLA: March 26, 2013

The Autry Presents La Cena Salon Series

The Autry reinvents the eighteenth-century European salon, but with a Latino flair, in the second of four programs in the new La Cena Salon series, on April 18, 2013 at 6:00 p.m., in which celebrated Latino artists from the visual, performing, and literary arts share cocktails and conversation with museum guests.

Following the resounding success of its inaugural La Cena Salon program in November, the Autry on April 18 will feature visual artist Chaz Boj??rquez, Ozomatli lead singer Raul Pacheco, author/columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer/director Dan Guerrero, and actor Clifton Collins, Jr. discussing their creative work in the context of the evening's theme, "Traditions and Mainstream Culture." UCLA professor Abel Valenzuela, Jr. will introduce the evening's program.

The program begins with tapas and cocktails, and then small groups of guests rotate through the Autry's museum galleries for salon-style conversation with the artists. Following the salons, artists and guests alike gather for dessert and additional conversation in the lobby.

"The La Cena Salon series is designed to explore universal themes that influence artistic vision in Latino communities and reveal how artistic expression helps shape our shared future," said Amy Scott, the Autry's Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Curator of Visual Arts. "Inviting artists to share their views about creative expression is a wonderful way to bring to life our mission of sharing the diverse stories of the people of the American West."

The series is meant to recall the aristocratic salons of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France and Italy, where conversation about philosophy and topics of the day inspired artists and authors. In a New World and a new age, La Cena Salon explores Latino art and culture in all its varied forms, each time focusing on a specific theme. The theme for April's La Cena Salon is the interplay in Latino art between notions of custom and tradition, which remain strong influences in Chicano and Latino immigrant communities, and mainstream American culture, which can sometimes act as an opposing force.

"It's like having friends over for dinner and then, in a relaxed fashion, engaging in a robust discussion," said actor Miguel Sandoval (Grey's Anatomy, Medium, Entourage), who participated in the first La Cena Salon event centered on "Religion and Ritual." "It has all the pleasures of good company and good old-fashioned discourse, but you don't have to cook or do the dishes. ?Que viva La Cena Salon!"

Future themes for La Cena Salon events include "Urban Landscape" on June 18, in which artist John Valadez and UCLA professor Eric Avila, among others, explore urban landscape and Los Angeles as a studio, stage, and home to many of the original galleries, collectives, and murals of el movimiento Chicano. The final La Cena Salon, on August 27, will focus on "Sex and the Body."

Ricardo Salinas, a performance artist and member of the avant-garde troupe Culture Clash who participated in the first La Cena Salon program, has become the Autry's creative advisor for the series.

"The Autry is on to something unique and special with La Cena Salon, and I consider myself lucky and am thrilled to be part of it," Salinas said. "To be able to discuss my work and art in a salon inside a museum was a one-of-a-kind experience that had me sharing ideas with an audience as if I were in my own living room. The setting gave me a chance as a performer to really reflect on what I do in an intimate manner with an enthusiastic audience."

The La Cena Salon series is presented in association with the upcoming Art of the West exhibition, opening on June 15, 2013, in the newly designed Irene Helen Jones Parks Gallery. Celebrating the Autry's 25th anniversary, Art of the West explores how shared values and interests have inspired artists from different cultures and times to create distinctive, powerful works that speak to their experience of the West as a destination, a community, and a home.

Organized around three primary themes--"Religion and Ritual," "Land and Landscape," and "Migration and Movement"--Art of the West will display historical works by such masters as Thomas Moran and Frederic Remington alongside more contemporary pieces by Georgia O'Keefe, Virgil Ortiz, Luis Tapia, David Levinthal, and many others. Also on display will be Yosemite After Adams, a grouping of contemporary photographs of Yosemite, as well as never-before-seen artworks from the Autry's rich collections, including that of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian.

Admission for the La Cena Salon "Traditions and Mainstream Culture," on April 18 at 6:00 p.m., is $50 for the general public, $40 for Autry members. Tapas, cocktails, and dessert are included. Space is limited, and reservations are required. Call 323.667.2000, ext. 326, or visit TheAutry.org.

Generous support for the La Cena Salon Series has been provided by The Walt Disney Company and The James Irvine Foundation.

About the Participants

Chaz Boj??rquez As a child in the 1950s, Chaz Boj??rquez was exposed to Mexican-American cholo-style graffiti in his East Los Angeles neighborhood. At that time, graffiti art was governed by a well-defined code and an ethic of allegiance. In 1968, Boj??rquez enrolled in the Chouinard Art Institute and later studied Chinese calligraphy with Master Yun Chung Chiang, who studied under Pu Ju, brother of the last emperor of China. In 1975, Italian photographer Gusmano Cesaretti interviewed Boj??rquez for Street Writers, a transcribed audio tour and book about East L.A. graffiti artists. Boj??rquez spent the rest of the 1970s and early 1980s tagging in the streets, using his own hybrid style. His work is in permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among others. In 2012 and 2013, Boj??rquez was a featured artist in shows at Plaza De La Raza/Boathouse Gallery and the National Museum Of Mexican Art in Chicago, as well as the Orange County Museum of Art and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, where he participated in Mex/L.A. "Mexican" Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985, part of the area-wide initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980.

Gustavo Arellano Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, and lecturer with the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at California State University, Fullerton. He writes "?Ask a Mexican!," a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America's spiciest and largest minority. The column has a weekly circulation of more than two million in 39 newspapers across the United States, won the 2006 and 2008 Association of Alternative Weeklies award for Best Column, and was published in book form by Scribner Press in May 2007.

Clifton Collins, Jr. Clifton Collins, Jr. is one of Hollywood's most versatile talents. He has starred in films that embrace both comedy and drama, including Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups (2013), Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi action thriller Pacific Rim (2013), and Taylor Hackford's modern-day Robin Hood tale Parker (2013). Among many others, Collins starred in the Sundance hit Sunshine Cleaning (2009) and Traffic (2000). He portrayed convicted murderer Perry Smith in the Academy Award-nominated Capote (2005), for which he also received an Alma Award nomination for Best Actor. In 2010, Collins starred in the NBC drama The Event. He received an Emmy nomination for his role in the mini-series Thief (2006) and has played recurring roles in some of television's highest-rated shows, including 24, The Shield, and Alias. He currently stars in the ABC drama series Red Widow. Collins has also directed several music videos.

Dan Guerrero Dan Guerrero began his entertainment career in New York as a theatrical agent for clients in the original casts of many Broadway musicals. In Los Angeles, he was a casting director for stage and television before turning his talents to producing and directing. Guerrero has produced diverse programs for network and cable television in English and Spanish, including talk shows and music specials for NBC, PBS, HBO, FOX, Univision, and Telemundo. He has produced and staged international arts and culture events at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, and the Cit? de la Musique in Paris, France. Among his credits are the opening ceremonies for the city-wide Artes de Mexico Festival, with more than 300 musical performers and costumed participants on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, and the Concerte Chicano et Tex Mex at the Cit? de la Musique.

Raul Pacheco Raul Pacheco bills himself first as an East Los Angeles native Chicano and second as lead singer and guitar player for Ozomatli, the three-time Grammy-winning, culture-mashing musical group. Pacheco has performed in 47 countries, sometimes as a cultural ambassador for the United States, and has also been a composer for movie and TV soundtracks as well as video games. He regularly enjoys mixing politics with music.

Abel Valenzuela, Jr. Abel Valenzuela, Jr. is chair of the UCLA C?sar E. Ch?vez Department for Chicana/o Studies and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Urban Planning. His research is primarily concerned with issues of minorities and immigrants in the United States, focusing on three related areas: immigration and labor markets; poverty and inequality; and immigrant settlement patterns. He is also the Chair of the University of California Committee on Latino Research. Recent publications include "On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States" (2006), a technical report authored with Nik Theodore, Edwin Melendez, and Ana Luz Gonzalez for the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty at UCLA, and Immigration and Crime: Ethnicity, Race, and Violence (2006), edited with Ramiro Martinez, Jr.

About Teresa Borden:
Communications coordinator at the Autry
Author's website

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