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Cheech Marin, comedian and art collector, on the new museum that bears his name

Richard “Cheech” Marin, of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, isn’t solely famend for stoner comedies — he is additionally an aficionado of Chicano artwork, which he began accumulating round 1985. “It is an habit,” he mentioned. “Hello, my identify is Cheech, and I am an artwork addict.”

Marin mentioned his habit is “about love of the topic.”

“I have been a collector of something since I used to be a little bit child – marbles, baseball playing cards, stamps, something,” he advised CBS Information.

Marin’s success as a part of the comedy group, and different performing roles, allowed him to spend money on his ardour. “I used to be the right storm,” he mentioned. “I knew what the artwork was, I had cash to gather it, and I had movie star to be able to proselytize for it.”

Chicano artwork, based on Marin, is not a method of portray; it is extra of a taste of the Mexican American neighborhood. 

And now, his assortment has a everlasting residence on the new Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum, in Riverside, California. It is affectionately referred to as “The Cheech.” 

“I acquired that in as quickly as I presumably may,” he laughed. “‘What ought to we name this?’ ‘The Cheech can be an excellent identify!'”

Within the foyer, guests are greeted by a 26-foot-tall lenticular set up of an Aztec Earth goddess, commissioned for the museum, by the De la Torre Brothers.

A two-story, back-lit mural by San Diego/Tijuana artists Einar and Jamex de la Torre, at The Cheech. 

CBS Information

“It’s alive, ‘trigger you see one thing new each time you take a look at it,” Marin mentioned.

Marin donated greater than 500 work, drawings and sculptures to the museum — works by dozens of artists. Amongst them is a portray by Wayne Alaniz Healy that Marin described as “Norman Rockwell meets Jackson Pollock.”  

“This one jumped off the wall at me. I’m going, ‘Whoa!'” he mentioned.

“Una Tarde en Meoqui (An Afternoon in Meoqui)” (1991) by Wayne Alaniz Healy.

The Cheech Marin Assortment of the Riverside Artwork Museum

There are works by Carlos Almaraz, whom Marin refers to as “the John Coltrane of Chicano painters” (“‘Trigger he places the paint on with such spontaneity”); and Margaret García, “the Chicano Gauguin.”

“Janine at 39, Mom of Twins” (2000) by Margaret García. 

The Cheech Marin Assortment of the Riverside Artwork Museum

One other of the work is by Frank Romero, “The Arrest of the Paleteros.” 

As Marin defined: “Paleteros are ice cream males. And so, that is MacArthur Park [in Los Angeles]. They usually have been gonna attempt to clear up MacArthur Park as a result of there was gangs and there was bother. So what they did is, they despatched in a SWAT group to arrest the ice cream males. And you may see it. I imply, that is like, little children with the popsicles over their head.”

“The Arrest of the Paleteros” (1996) by Frank Romero.

The Cheech Marin Assortment of the Riverside Artwork Museum

There may be additionally a portrait of Marin himself, which he playfully described because the Chicano Mona Lisa. 

“That is by Eloy Torrez,” Marin mentioned. “All of the painters sooner or later, once I began accumulating, they go, ‘If I paint an image of Cheech he’ll in all probability purchase it!'”

“It is a Brown World After All” (2006) by Eloy Torrez.

The Cheech Marin Assortment of the Riverside Artwork Museum

“He needed this work to be seen,” mentioned María Esther Fernández, inventive director of The Cheech. “And I believe that is the place he diverges from different collectors. And so, he knocked on doorways, and he wasn’t all the time well-received, however he persevered.”

As Marin defined, “I used to be a stoner comic with this assortment. And there was all the time type of like a pushback there originally. Not one of the museum administrators needed to place their head on the block.”

He was decided to tour his assortment, taking it to some 50 museums across the nation. In 2002, he introduced it to the Smithsonian. “What we’re saying with this exhibit is, Chicano is American,” he mentioned. 

Cheech Marin.

CBS Information

Then in 2017, the town of Riverside, with a inhabitants greater than 50% Latino, needed to discover a new mission for its outdated library — and got here to Marin. 

“Sure, that’s the half that I by no means anticipated. And I did not perceive what they have been saying at first. ‘You need me to purchase a museum? I am doing fairly good, however I do not know if I am museum wealthy!’ ‘No, no, we wanna give you the museum. You give us the gathering and we’ll deal with it.’ OK. Let’s go! Bounce off the cliff, and away we went.”

After an almost $13 million renovation, The Cheech was born.

Marin was requested the way it felt to be greeted by guests praising the gathering. “It is past the dream, you understand? I by no means dreamed this dream. It is too huge a dream.”

However how does it rank along with his films and comedy?

“I am equally pleased with each,” he mentioned. “However the pleasure that emanates from this one is past something.”

Marin continues to be making films — three within the final 12 months alone, together with the romantic comedy “Shotgun Wedding ceremony.”

And he is nonetheless accumulating. 

“Yeah, I do not even attempt to not,” he laughed. “I am not a zillionaire and say, ‘Hey, ship over two tons of that artwork,’ you understand? That is why I work on a regular basis. I am working, ‘Oh, I can get that portray.’ As a result of there’s nonetheless masterpieces of Chicano artwork being made by the perfect artists proper now. However there is not any higher pleasure than standing in entrance of a brand new portray like, ‘Wow, is that cool!’ You understand, that is the perfect a part of it.”

A view of the Cheech Marin Middle for Chicano Artwork & Tradition of the Riverside Artwork Museum, in Riverside, Calif. 

CBS Information

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