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Latino Daily News

Wednesday July 27, 2011

Influential Mexican-American Artist Gilbert ‘Magú’ Luján Dies at 70.

Influential Mexican-American Artist Gilbert ‘Magú’ Luján Dies at 70.

Photo: Gilbert 'Magú' Luján dies.

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His witty, humorous art works evoking a magically exuberant Mexican-American experience was in museums, as well as the Hollywood and Vine subway station.

Born Oct. 16, 1940, in French Camp, Calif., near Stockton, Magú moved with his family to East Los Angeles.

A pioneer of the Chicano art movement that took root in the social and cultural turmoil of the 1960s and ‘70s, Magú, as people called him for studying artworks from a very close distance, liked the UP-animated character Mr. Magoo.  He was one of the first Mexican-American artists to establish an international career.

In addition to LACMA, the artist’s work has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Brooklyn Museum, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

“Rather than seeing the art as merely a kind of instrument for social change,” Magú insisted that art “had to have integrity in order to have that impact,” said Chon Noriega, director of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center.

His art was loaded with native Mesoamerican art and iconography elements, as well as elements of the Chicano popular culture that he was a witness of in his Eastern L.A. youth.

“One only has to examine the barrio to see that the elements to choose from are as infinite as any culture allows,” Magú said at one point.