LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is hosting a virtual walkthrough of Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form, an exhibition of early and little-seen drawings, sketches, and paintings by the pioneering Chicano artist. This unique presentation, live streamed on LA Plaza’s Facebook and Instagram, will be led by his widow Elsa Flores Almaraz and curator Susana Smith Bautista, Ph.D.
The virtual walkthrough was held in lieu of the previously scheduled Opening Reception for the exhibition and is in keeping with safety measures geared towards helping to slow the spread of coronavirus. The live stream is archived on LA Plaza’s website.
Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form focuses on the earlier periods in the artist’s life that played a significant influence on his artistic styles and form, from conceptualism and minimalism when he lived in New York in the 1960s, to a burst of color and figurative work when he returned to Los Angeles. It explores his search for his cultural roots and sexual identity and his personal and professional relationship with his wife and fellow artist Elsa Flores Almaraz.
The exhibition includes early black and white grid-like compositions in graphite on paper and abstract color grids in pastel from the 1960s and the beginning of figurative works in the 1970s. Also included are a selection of the artist’s personal sketchbooks from 1969 and his later trips to China and works that have not been exhibited for decades, including the recently restored mural on paper La Conquista (1972), two untitled spray can murals from 1971 inspired by the collective murals of Los Four, and a large foreboding painting End of an Era (1986). Also included in the exhibition are black and white photographs by Elsa Flores Almaraz from 1975 to 1982, showing a glimpse into the Chicano art scene of that time.