Image: Frank Romero, The Arrest of the Paleteros,
Richard “Cheech” Marin of Cheech and Chong Fame has partnered with the Riverside Art Museum to open The Cheech Marin Center for Chicago Art and Culture. Known mainly for his comedic success with Tommy Chong, Marin has also become a well-know collector of Chicano art, and is thought to own one of the more prevalent private collections.
Visitors to museum (affectionately known as “The Cheech”) will have a rare opportunity to view paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works by some of the most respected Chicana/o artists in the world—all pioneers, trailblazers, and rule-breakers—visionaries like Carlos Almaraz, Margaret Garcia, Wayne Alaniz Healy, Judithe Hernández, Frank Romero, John Valadez, and Patssi Valdez. By all estimates the Center will house the finest collection of Chicano art anywhere in the world.
What is Chicano art anyway? The short answer: it is the creative expression of a uniquely American experience. It’s been said that it’s artwork that screams from the canvas “We are here. And we matter!”
As artwork created by Americans of Mexican descent, Chicano art exploded onto popular culture in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Born out of the counterculture of the Chicano Movement, it became known as the art of struggle, protest, and identity.
Whether it was printmaking, painting, performance art, murals, or mixed media, or some combination thereof, the artwork was then—and continues to be today—a key tool for Chicanos to share their own unique passion and life experiences. It is a forum where creativity and activism converge into something combustible, inspiring, and breathtakingly bold.
The two major exhibitions on view are : Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective featuring more than 70 mixed-media works, and Cheech Collects, which weaves a story of Cheech Marin’s 40-year journey as an art collector.
For Cheech, the center is a dream come true.
“We’ve put so much work into this center, and I can’t believe it’s finally here,” Marin said. “I’m so excited to share my passion with the rest of the world. There’s something in here for everyone.”
For tickets and directions please visit: https://riversideartmuseum.org/