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INTO THE NIGHT / BILL HIGGINS

The Gronkster Finally Gets Inside

March 18, 1994|BILL HIGGINS

The Scene: Wednesday's opening reception for "Gronk! A Living Survey 1973-1993" at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The artist, born Glugio Gronk Nicandro, is the first living Chicano artist to have a solo show at LACMA. "What this is about," said one guest, "is it's about time."

Prehistory: In 1972, Gronk and two other artists tagged a LACMA wall with graffiti after a curator made a comment to the effect that all Mexican art is folk art. "I think this is the same as '72," Gronk said about his opening, "but I'm on the inside defacing now."

Who Was There: Marie Acosta-Colon, the director of San Francisco's Mexican Museum, described the crowd as "anyone who's anyone in the Chicano/Latino visual arts community." Among the guests were Gronk, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Solomon Huerta, Al Nodal, Armando Duran, Daniel J. Martinez, Mario Tamayo, Dan Saxon, Fred Weisman, Ed Leffingwell, Stanley Grinstein and Mike Woo.

The Buzz: Love the show, joyous over the locale. When was the last time they had to flash the lights and have security guards sweep the courtyard to get guests to leave a LACMA party? "This is a big night because it's been waiting in the hearts of many people," said artist Yolanda Gonzalez. "It's a chance for us to show our true colors at the museum. This is just the beginning."

Chow: A buffet of Mexican food from Somerset. "They asked me if I wanted ethnic food," Gronk said. "I thought matzo balls with guacamole would have been a good idea."

Quoted: Gronk said he didn't go into art "to be in museums and galleries. It's always been about making something. The attention and all the other things I never expected. When I come back to the studio I feel normal--whatever that means. To me it's being a lounge potato with a cup of coffee and a piece of pie."

Noted: Among the written comments in the guest book: "How fitting, Gronk and Picasso"; "Gronk is an angel amidst vultures," and "Andale! Gronkster!"

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