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Murals Come to Life

Gregorio Luke brings electric enthusiasm to Diego Rivera's revolutionary art at the Ford Amphitheatre

By Erick Huerta
Published on LatinoLA: June 10, 2009


Murals Come to Life


There's a certain contradiction with the art of Diego Rivera.

The majority of his works uplifted the status of the everyday working class man through paintings and murals. Rivera knew that working class people were the lifeblood of any country and industry. He had the ability to tap into them and mirror their souls and energy in his works.

Decades later, a gap had grown within that same working class and the art Rivera created chronicling their lives and their struggles.

Nowadays, only the privileged can see and experience his art first hand and in some cases even know about it. The same working class Rivera used, as subject matter doesn't have access to his works.

If Rivera were here today, he would be painting portraits of street vendors selling hot dogs with bacon, elotes, raspados and oranges on the side of the freeway exit and that's where Gregorio Luke steps in.

Luke, who has given thousands of lectures all over the U.S. and in Mexico, does his best to breach that gap between Rivera's works and the working class. Using technology and old school know how, Luke's lectures are aimed at letting anyone interested in Rivera's art, enjoy it as its projected to near-life size proportions using the latest technology at his disposal. The projector he uses looks as if it's a transformer in disguise.

By bringing an electric enthusiasm to his lectures, he is able to grab the audience's attention and direct it to the projected murals on the towering screen behind him.

All the while, family and friends sit waiting for the show to begin as they eat and drink into the evening. Attendees can bring food from subway to sushi. People are drinking glasses of wine while munchin' on buckets of popcorn.

On this particular night, Sunday, June 7 at the John Anson Ford Theater in Hollywood, Rivera's daughter, Dr. Guadalupe Rivera and her son Diego Lopez Rivera attended. They were honored for their work with the Diego Rivera Foundation, which promotes arts and education in children by the California State Legislature and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

"?íQue viva Diego!" proclaimed an audience member. "?íQue viva!" yelled the crowd as Dr. Rivera thanked everyone and accepted the plaques.

From there, Luke commanded the rest of the night. As he went through Rivera's life, he talked about the significance Rivera had not only in Mexico, but everywhere he traveled. He described and discussed some of the murals Rivera painted in the U.S. giving back ground information and contextualizing the works for the crowd.

By breaking down some of his most influential and important murals, Luke had the audience hanging on his every word. They were delighted and marveled as the murals came to life on the screen every time.

Never before have has the Ford Amphitheatre sold out for a lecture attracting such a wide range audience. Truly, this is a great opportunity for new comers to experience a great evening and learn something new at the same time. The next lecture will be on Rufino Tamayo, whose works focused on Mexico's pre-Hispanic and popular art on July 12. Just like his lecture on Diego, Luke will not disappoint with Tamayo.

More at: GregorioLuke.com and http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?organ_val=1007&perfcode=AA0712&perfsubcode=2009

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