Gregorio Luke Presents Life Size Murals of Miguel Covarrubias
Back in the days to see the mural you had to go to the place it was on exhibition, nowadays, with all the available technical tools we can recreate the mural on completely different wall, sometimes even improving it’s quality – says Luke in one of the television interviews. With that on mind he’s bringing the digital murals of Hispanic origin artists to the public of Los Angeles’ Ford Theater (earlier the shows were happening in the parking lot of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach), presenting such notable works as those of Rufino Tamayo, Diego Rivera or upcoming José Miguel Covarrubias (August 16th, 2009). Former Director of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, former Consul of Cultural Affairs of Mexico in Los Angeles and the First Secretary of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C., Gregorio Luke is an expert on Mexican and Latin American art and culture, honored with numerous awards for promoting Latin-American culture around the globe (over 1,000 lectures in museums and universities throughout Mexico, Europe and the United States in institutions such as the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, and Universities such as Harvard, Columbia, UNAM and Georgetown, among others). Most recently he received the Local Hero Award of KCET in 2008.
Gregorio Luke’s presentations blend the visual and narrative into seamless, intriguing productions. They combine the scale of film, the excitement of story telling and the exhilaration of learning. A curator and lecturer for more than 20 years, Mr. Luke has brought a new way of combining the visual with the narrative. When prepares for lectures he completely immerses himself in the subject matter in a similar way that an actor preparing for a role. And when Mr. Luke presents his lectures, he does so without notes and using a clear and entertaining communication style. Combined with live performances of music and dance the shows are must-sees for anyone with a bear interest in multimedia communication.
José Miguel Covarrubias (1904 —1957), an artist featured in the upcoming presentation of Gregorio Luke at the Ford - Life Size Murals series was a Mexican painter and caricaturist, ethnologist, art historian and dance promoter. In 1924 at the age of 19 he moved from his hometown of Mexico City to New York City armed with a grant from the Mexican government, tremendous talent, but very little English speaking skill. Luckily, Miguel could draw. Soon Miguel was drawing for several top magazines, eventually becoming one of Vanity Fair magazine's premier caricaturists and began to design sets and costumes for the theater including Caroline Dudley Reagon's La Revue Negre starring Josephine Baker in the show that made her a smash in Paris. Other shows included Androcles and the Lion, The Four Over Thebes, and the Garrick Gaities' Rancho Mexicano number for dancer/ choreographer Rose Rolanda (aka Rose Roland, Rosa Rolanda and Rosa Covarrubias), artist’s later life partner.
Miguel's artwork and celebrity caricatures have been featured in The New Yorker and Vanity Fair magazines. The linear nature of his drawing style was highly influential to other caricaturists such as Al Hirschfeld. Miguel's first book of caricatures The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans was a hit, though not all his subjects were thrilled that his sharp, pointed wit was aimed at them. He immediately fell in love with the Harlem jazz scene, his caricatures of the jazz clubs were the first of their kind printed in Vanity Fair. He managed to capture the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance in much of his work as well as in his book, Negro Drawings. Covarrubias also did some wonderful illustrations for The Heritage Press including Uncle Tom's Cabin, Green Mansions, Herman Melville's Typee, and Pearl Buck's All Men Are Brothers as well as publisher Alfred & Charles Boni's Frankie and Johnny for a young writer who would become a good friend and film director named John Huston. Today, these editions are very sought after by collectors. He collaborated in Austrian Artist Wolfgang Paalen's journal Dyn from 1942-44. Additionally his advertising, painting and illustration work brought him international recognition including gallery shows in Europe, Mexico and the United States as well as awards such as the 1929 National Art Directors' Medal for painting in color for his work on a Steinway & Sons piano advertisement.
Rosa and Miguel returned to live in Mexico City where he continued to paint, illustrate and write. He taught ethnology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia and was appointed artistic director and director of administration for a new department at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the National Palace of Fine Arts. His mandate was to add an Academy of Dance - a task to which Rosa with her dance and choreography background was most valuable. Miguel recruited friend and dancer José Limón who brought his dance company from New York City for the inaugural season in 1950, taught at Bellas Artes and helped arrange for international exposure of this new Mexican modern dance company. During Miguel's tenure traditional Mexican dance was not only researched, documented and preserved but by this research into its roots, it helped usher in a new era in contemporary Mexican dance.
To get to know better this multitalented artist and activist come to The Ford Theater on Sunday, August 16th. Ticket to this event available half-price @ www.StubDog.com