ArtHamptons Spotlights Chicano Artists
by stacey goergen
Dusk, Jackie Battenfield
“Chicano art describes an experience of being Chicano in this country, pulled from myriad of different viewpoints, whether it’s political, social, gender-based, religious, or even abstract,” explains Cheech Marin, the acclaimed actor, comedian, director, and author. “When you get these artistic viewpoints together, you get a 360-degree experience of being Chicano, and it’s a different experience than any other.”
This summer ArtHamptons is honoring Marin with Arts Patron of the Year for his commitment to bringing Chicano artwork and artists into the mainstream. “A Chicano is a Mexican-American with a defiant political attitude that is self-proclaimed,” he explains. “Specifically, it’s a Mexican- American, who was born in this country or who has had the greater part of his experience in this country, but he puts himself outside of the mainstream. It’s a political attitude more than anything. Over the years it has evolved so that Chicano is a name for the acculturation process.”
Southampton resident and art collector Rick Friedman founded ArtHamptons, which is now in its fifth year, after he saw an opportunity for a large postwar and contemporary art fair on the East End. Using his successful entrepreneurial background as leverage, which among other things included organizing large trade shows, he surveyed some of his friends about the idea. They assured him, “If you do it, we will come.” And, they did.
Working with Mexican-American artists since the mid-1980s, Marin owns the largest collection of Chicano paintings in the United States. At ArtHamptons he is collaborating with Los Angeles gallery Thomas Paul Fine Art on a booth called the Art of New America, which will introduce new work by several of his favorite emerging Chicano artists, including Texans Carlos Donjuan and Ricardo Ruiz.
Marin may have risen to fame in the late 1970s in his role as half the serious when it comes to promoting, collecting, and introducing the public to Chicano art. As with most avid collectors, Marin began accumulating various objects obsessively as a child—baseball cards, marbles, matchbox covers. His first piece of art was purchased while on tour with Cheech and Chong in New Orleans. Drawn to an Art Nouveau piece in a store window, he went in, bought the piece, and began adding other Art Nouveau pieces as he traveled around the country. In the mid-1980s, Marin decided that he wanted to learn more about contemporary art. Impressed by works he saw at Robert Berman’s Santa Monica gallery, he began to acquire Chicano art. “It was like the perfect storm because of my art history training and because I had the money to buy,” says the Nash Bridges star. “The great thing was that some of the masterpieces of Chicano art were still available.”
During ArtHamptons, Marin intends to be at the Art of New America booth—meeting, explaining, and talking to visitors about the artwork to which he is so committed.
In addition to honoring Marin, ArtHamptons is celebrating the centennial anniversary of Jackson Pollock’s birth. Friedman has commissioned a photographic replica of Pollock’s paint-splattered studio floor that is installed in the building’s lobby, as well as photographs and memorabilia from his life. The gallerist Jason McCoy, who is Pollock and Lee Krasner’s nephew, will also be showing the work of both artists in his booth
Now housed in a temporary 40,000-square-foot modular building at the Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark Project in Bridgehampton, Art‑Hamptons includes a wide range of postwar and contemporary art in booths representing approximately 75 galleries from 10 countries. In the first year, Friedman notes they had more than 3,000 visitors. This year they expect more than 14,000. Cheech Marin will be honored as Arts Patron of the Year July 14, 2-3 pm, in the Thomas Paul Gallery booth. ArtHamptons runs July 13-15 at the Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark Project, 30 Millstone Road, Water Mill, 283-5505
photography by Gary Mamay (pollock floor).courtesy of anelle Gendelman fine art (dusk)