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Alejandro Romero: Our Presence

By Margaret Failoni

“Like Mexico, Chicago has been the receiver of many cultures since its foundations.

“Our Presence” by Alejandro Romero
Thu, Feb 11, 8pm
Bellas Artes

Alejandro Romero is a chilango artist who has made his home in Chicago without forgetting his roots, which are found not only in Mexico City but also in many provincial towns in Mexico.” ¾Teresa del Conde, Mexican Fine Arts Museum, Chicago, 1991.¾

After graduating from the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City, Alejandro Romero worked as a designer and muralist in Mexico City before being invited to the United States for the first time by the University of New Mexico, with exhibitions in Taos and Santa Fe which quickly followed. An invitation to Chicago came soon after.

It is not surprising that Romero, the quintessential chilango artist living in Chicago, has been chosen as the pictorial spokesman, so to speak, for all things relating to Mexican-American activities, and not only in one of the most Mexican-influenced cities in the United States. Cultural associations, universities, and museums dealing in festivities of the Latino community have requested Romero’s artistic insight to advertise or illustrate the deeply rooted manifestations of the Mexican-Americans, and Latinos in general, which have become such an integral part of Chicago.

His work can be found in important private collections in the United States as well as in several museums. The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art, both in Chicago, have collected many of the paintings originally created for some of these manifestations. Notwithstanding the many years this mid-career artist has lived in Chicago, Romero’s work not only continues to cull from the Mexican tradition, but many of his best known works deal with a combination of Meso-American myths combined with the European, a not-so-veiled illustration of his mestizo origins and that of his people. Most of the posters shown in this exhibition deal with the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago, almost exclusively Mexican, with its murals, its commemorative festivities, its ephemeral art, its beer-garden bars, blues festivals, concerts, art exhibitions, and labor union centennials. Some have been designed for different Mexican or Hispanic happenings in public squares, museums, or universities. All depict the Latino vibe, the gaiety, and the vivaciousness of his people.

It is no wonder he is so sought after.

The Ignacio Ramírez Cultural Center “El Nigromante” (Bellas Artes) presents this exhibition, which opens Thursday, February 11, at 8pm, and runs through April 24, 2016.


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