Renown Chicano Artist Honors Iconic L.A. Bridge Who Has a Date With Wrecking Ball. End is Near
Avenue 50 Studio – Opens July 11th to August 1, 2015
Opening Night Reception: 7 PM to 10 PM
131 N. Avenue 50
Los Angeles (Highland Park) 90042
By Elia Esparza
Avenue 50 Studio is proud to present its upcoming exhibition: “Elegy to the 6th Street Bridge” by renown Chicano artist Roberto Gutiérrez opening on July 11, 2015 and running through August 1, 2015. Avenue 50 Studio is located in the Highland Park community, northeast of Los Angeles. The 6th Street Bridge is a major artery connecting the east side communities with downtown– a really big deal from the day it was built in 1932.
The “Elegy” exhibition is in collaboration with Avenue 50 Studio and is a solo show with several works depicting the 6th Street Bridge that is set to be demolished because it has been declared faulty and unsafe to handle earthquakes. The bridge has been neglected, abandoned and pretty much ignored and stands over “the concrete and decay of the L.A. River.”
Gutiérrez has had many artistic victories throughout his distinguished career (his Paris Collection takes your breath away) but a group of creations that is most endearing to his heart are his paintings of the famous Los Angeles 6th Street Bridge, built in 1932. To native Angelenos, the 6th Street Viaduct Bridge is a major connector between downtown and Boyle Heights areas of Los Angeles, CA. To the movie industry it is a pop-culture subconscious as its image has appeared in multiple films, TV, commercials and music videos.
“This exhibition is a tribute to an important part of L.A. history,” Gutierrez states. “If the bridge could have been saved, I’m sure it would have. But structure was made from cement made from imported pebbles and sand.” And, according to experts, this bridge’s cement and aggregate “were at war, creating a gel that in the presence of water expands and causes the concrete to crack.”
According to Kathy Gallegos, Ave 50 Studio Founder and Executive Director, Roberto’s 6th Street Bridge paintings are an abstract collection, which is a departure from his past works.
Gutierrez’s upcoming exhibition consists of several watercolor paintings and canvases that observe the bridge from different perspectives, and one of the most favored, according to Rodrigo Ribera D’Ebre in a Huffington Post article, “is the painting in black and white with a dreary blue sky that is sobbing for the bridge that will no longer exist. I knew then that I was no longer looking at a painting of a bridge.”
“All my work is biographic,” says Gutierrez, 72. “The 6th Street Bridge holds many memories since high school from 1958 to 1961. I’m a native Angelino, graduated from Roosevelt High School, and I had to cross this bridge for most of my childhood. I used to look down, watching people as they walked, rode their bicycles or drove their cars… I’ve always had a history interest, imagine if the old fashioned telephone posts could talk… what tales they’d tell.”
For a more insightful look at Roberto Gutierrez, here he talks about his art, career and his popular Paris collection:
“Fast forward 40 years and as a painter/artist, I see the bridge as a 3-dimentional abstraction and if you look at the artists from the 1950’s, I see that bridge and I see it in my work in black and white,” Gutierrez proclaims.
“Elegy To The 6th Street Bridge” exhibition is free and open to the public, opening July 11th through August 1, 2015. For more information, visit: www.avenue50studio.org
About Roberto Gutiérrez
He was born in Los Angeles in 1943 to a large family at the edge of poverty and is the youngest of nine siblings. During his childhood, his family moved around a lot but always within the Los Angeles area: From Lincoln Heights, to Chinatown, to Highland Park, and then to Boyle Heights, graduating from Roosevelt High. Like so many others of his generation with no job prospects, volunteered to the U.S. Marine Corps and joined the Vietnam War. Afterwards, he used the G.I. Bill to attend East Los Angeles Community college where he was introduced to artists Chaim Soutine, Monet, Van Gogh, Manet, Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, films like The Battle of Algiers and Los Olvidados, books like The Souls of Black Folks, Nobody Knows My Name, Native Son, and the political culture of protest that surrounded him. Around this time he took up painting and began with the trauma experienced in Vietnam and the angst of his childhood as if reconciling the wrongs he had observed or were imposed on him. Ever since, Gutiérrez has worked in the company of peers at Self-Help Graphics and in his studio. His work has been widely shown in galleries throughout the Southwest and extensively distributed through the medium of posters depicting el barrio and Los Angeles. Gutiérrez’s deepest source of satisfaction comes from the knowledge of whom he is and what he has to offer the community–a vision of life as it is lived in all its glorious hues. http://www.thechicanocollection.net/artists/rogu/index.html
About Avenue 50 Studio
Avenue 50 Studio is a non-profit arts presentation organization grounded in Latina/o culture, visual arts, and the Northeast Los Angeles Community, that seeks to bridge cultures through artistic expression, using content-driven art to educate and to stimulate intercultural understanding. Kathy Gallegos, whose political and cultural activism led her to founding the Avenue 50 Studio championing issues of social responsibility. Since 2000, she has been the Director of the Avenue 50 Studio. Located in the heart of Highland Park at 131 N. Avenue 50, Los Angeles, CA 90042. Gallery Hours: Tue-Thurs, 10am-4pm | Sat-Sun, 10am-4pm | or by appointment. www.avenue50studio.org or call (323) 258-1435.