In Hollywood, murals bring us Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and icons from the golden era. It's part of the marketing machine. If you wanted to know the real dirt on Hollywood, the best way would be to talk to the bus boys at the Cocoanut Grove.
But murals mean much more than that. They can be part of a political movement or a way to tell a story on a grand scale that even Hieronymus Bosch couldn't match. Diego Rivera did both, although Hollywood seems to have noticed him to this point mostly for being the big guy in Salma Hayek's movie about Frida Khalo.
Well Hollywood, you get a second look when Gregorio Luke brings Rivera's art to life-size. Well, they are murals, so they are literally bigger than life.
Imagine IMAX as a live and outdoor theater concert, and you start to feel the scope of the experience. Luke has acquired massive screens and the latest grand-scale projectors to revive the murals of Mexican Art masters in such a dramatic way that you won't believe it's art.
Indeed, the show on June 7th is expected to be like nothing the art world has ever presented. The reason is rather simple ÔÇô technology.
"Hey, think about it, there were no rock concerts before the electric guitar," Luke said at a gathering of supporters to launch his Mondo Mural events. "And there haven't been art shows like this ÔÇªsimply because the technology hasn't previously existed."
Luke is the perfect person to bring these murals to life-size. Currently on the Board of Directors for the Mexican Cultural Institute, he created his loyal following with creative tenures as the Director of the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA), as the former Consul of Cultural Affairs of Mexico in Los Angeles, and as the First Secretary of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C.
Perhaps this is why Diego Rivera's daughter, Guadalupe Rivera, will be in attendance along with political leaders, actual Hollywood actors (and waiters) and political dignitaries such as the Consul General of Mexico.
But his strength is in passion rather than relying on his vast knowledge. One of the best lines I've seen about Luke came from Agustin Gurza in the LA Times: "Gregorio Luke gives cultural lectures with the fervor and reverence of a missionary hungry for converts. Luke speaks as if he's seen a vision. His [audience] can't help but see it too."
The opportunity to see Rivera's works in this format is one of the most unique art experiences ever. For example, some works ÔÇô such as the above-mentioned Man at the Crossroads ÔÇô have never been seen as intended. Pictures were taken before it was destroyed and the giant screens bring it to life. Although Rivera re-created the mural in Mexico, with some changes, but the sheer difference of venue changes the intended experience. Moreover, this format event gives audiences the first true view of Man at the Crossroads.
Other Rivera masterpieces, such as The Dream of a Sunday Afternoon at the Alameda Park, will provide the audience with the color and scope as intended. This has been impossible for generations because murals naturally weather.
Few things about art are experienced in a vacuum. Perhaps only museums and galleries present art in antiseptic, silent spaces, which is ironic because often the greatest art has been in the reception halls of political leaders and on buildings or streets. To separate art from the commotion of life (which is the impetus for most art) is like restricting oneself to the abstract. For this series, Luke has invited musical masters of the eras and, in some cases, singers and percussionists, to provide an oral context to the masterworks.
Experience it for yourself: June 7 at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater.