The show, which was part of the Getty’s ambitious and influential “Pacific Standard Time: Art in the L.A. 1945-1980” series of 60 shows across SoCal, featured some 40 artists now well-known in art circles, including Chris Burden, Tony DeLap, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Barbara Rose, Alexis Smith, Babara T. Smith, Laddie John Dill, John Coplans (the department’s first chair and founder of University Art Gallery) and many others.
The impact of those teachers and students is still felt today, critics say. What brings that influential exhibit to mind? Now through January 2018, the Getty has a sequel to those shows called “Pacific Standard Time LA/LA,” which focuses on Latin American and Latino Art in LA and greater Southern California.
An exhibit featuring a UCI artist (one of 70 shows across the region.) at UCI’s University Art Galleries is “the first survey of one of the most iconic figures of the Chicano art movement, Gilbert “Magu” Luján.”
That’s from the curators’ materials for the press, which goes on to say that, “Luján’s efforts as an emerging artist and student in the masters program at the University of California, Irvine, in the 1960s and the early 1970s changed the course of art history.”
We don’t recall his name from the “Best Kept Secret” show, and a Google search doesn’t show him on the roster of influential UCI artists in the exhibit. Which of course doesn’t diminish the importance of that exhibit in Laguna Beach. It just makes us wonder if there are other “secrets” about art in Irvine that that we wish we knew about, as we wish we’d known this artist, and his work.
Gilbert “Magú” Luján died in 2011 at the age of 70. “He will be remembered for his laughter, for his gentle ways, for his beautiful children and grandchildren, for his friendships and for his inability to live any other life than that of an artist,” wrote María Elena Gaitan upon his death (as quoted in OC Weekly).
That testament alone is enough to draw us to the UCI exhibit titled “Aztlán to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján,” which is on display through December 16, 2017.
University Art Gallery, Claire Trevor School of the Arts.