January 12 – March 24, 2018
Sangre Colorado: Carlos Frésquez Mid-Career Survey is an exhibition that features work spanning forty years of the influential and prolific career of Denver’s own Carlos Frésquez. A celebrated Chicano artist, Frésquez’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in major collections. In his paintings, prints, and installations Frésquez honors his Chicano background and pulls in varied influences from punk and pop culture to modern masters, blending visual and cultural cues with both reverence and humor.
The exhibition and catalog begin with artwork Frésquez made as an undergraduate student in the 1970s, a time when the Chicano Rights movement was gaining momentum in Denver. Frésquez brought Chicano culture into the classroom as a student through visual representation in his artwork, and by demanding discussion of Chicano art in history courses. As a professor Frésquez continues to bring the conversation of equality and rights into the classroom and into his artwork. Through his artwork, we see Frésquez’s reverence (and sometimes irreverence) for Chicano and Mexican tradition alongside pop culture and modern art references that situate Chicano art among the progression of contemporary art.
The intention behind Frésquez’s work is often to make the viewer reexamine commonly accepted beliefs about the human condition and the façade of hierarchy among different groups of people. The title of the exhibition, “Sangre Colorado” is an example of Carlos’s playful use of language paired with imagery to convey meaning that is on one level humorous, but with a serious message behind the pun. The use of Sangre, Spanish for “blood” and Colorado, which means “red color” together is a play on the colloquialism, “red-blooded American.” Like that of many self-identifying Chicano/as Carlos’s family has lived in Colorado for several generations. As he says, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”
From his early abstract work to his layered multimedia paintings as half of the Los Supersonicos artist duo, to his set design and the reoccurring motif of the curtain, the exhibition travels the wide span of Frésquez’s career trajectory
- Cecily Cullen, Curator