Cesar Ivan: Dreaming Downtown El Paso

Artist Cesar Ivan has been living on the top floor of that goofy but wonderful pie-shaped building on the southwest corner of Mesa and Texas for eight or nine years now, cobbling together a living from his art, his hand-made puppets, steel furniture and other bits and pieces of imaginative capitalism. For a number of years, he had three paintings hanging in now-disappeared Lumenbrite (reborn now as el Percolator)--"El Carnaval Social," "El Hombre Fuerte" and "La Mujer de Dos Cabezas." Those paintings, for many of us, have become an emblem of Downtown El Paso of the last 15 years. They are fine art and important cultural artefacts. Cesar has been dreaming downtown El Paso much like Diego Rivera dreamed La Alameda in DF around 80 years ago.

I'd like to say this loudly: I cannot understand why the art museum hasn't strong-armed some angel to buy those pieces to help us document the cultural and imaginative ferment of El Paso here at the cusp between centuries.

In the near future I'll be writing a blog entry or two about those works, but in the meantime I wanted to put this short video up on youtube and on my blog. It documents a recent visit to Cesar's home and studio. I carried along my little FLIP video camera which has lousy sound but sure makes for a quick and dirty way to get something up on the internet. Enjoy Cesar Ivan. He's becoming an important element of our collective imagination in El Paso.

Here's "El Carnaval Social"--


David said...

Interesting tour ... Do you know anything about Annabel Livermore's studio? I have a print from the N bar series ... Really like it.

Chevalterre Nabil said...

If you like this geniuse's work, from his previous exhibit in the former Lumenbrite... you must see Zeque Penya's murals at the Percolator and La Catrina. and don't forget about the artwork posted inside and the display window of the GLBTQ Center on 311 E. Mills (same vecindad). Chiale, good post!

Anonymous said...

Better late than never. Just visited Cesar Ivan's studio for the first time today. It's an amazing space, full of art and personality. Maria Maloney