Gronk

Gronk

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by Max Benavidez
     
 

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Gronk was born in 1954 in the barrios of East Los Angeles. An autodidact by circumstance, he began his career as an urban muralist who had to look up the word “mural” to know whether he could paint one. Over time, he has grown into an international figure who has created grand sets for operas and computerized animation for panoramic screens.

In this

Overview

Gronk was born in 1954 in the barrios of East Los Angeles. An autodidact by circumstance, he began his career as an urban muralist who had to look up the word “mural” to know whether he could paint one. Over time, he has grown into an international figure who has created grand sets for operas and computerized animation for panoramic screens.

In this sweeping examination of Gronk’s oeuvre, Max Benavidez elucidates how the artist can cross genres, sexual categories, and ethnic barriers, yet still remain true to himself. From street murals to mail art, from large-scale action painting to performance art and operatic set design, Gronk has made a lasting mark on the Chicano art movement, the punk scene, gay art, and the cultural world stage. As a founder of the East L.A. avant-garde art collective Asco (Spanish for nausea), Gronk and his contemporaries responded to Hollywood’s rejection of Chicanos by creating a conceptual countercinema, the No Movie, that incorporated Hollywood imagery and style even as it wickedly dissected the banality and biases of the mass media. In collaborations with Cyclona, Mundo Meza, Jerry Dreva, and Tomata DuPlenty, Gronk challenged the limits of sexuality, gender norms, and taste.

What Benavidez ultimately reveals is Gronk’s uncanny power to reinvent himself and his art, moving through one vivid artistic and subcultural scene to another. Add large doses of Gronk’s wit, irony, and talent and you have the story of his major contribution not only to Chicano art but to late twentieth-century culture.

Max Benavidez is a writer, independent scholar, essayist for the Los Angeles Times, and a consultant to a wide range of cultural and academic institutions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780895511058
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
03/07/2007
Series:
A Ver Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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Gronk 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Henry_Berry More than 1 year ago
'Chicano/gay' hardly begins to impart the melange of traits, styles, and penchants relating to the artist known as Gronk. His art spans painting, drawing, graphics, murals, photographs, set design, ceramics, computer-based animation, and performance art live on streets and stages and also video. Born in an East Los Angeles barrio, he has seemingly absorbed all the multicultural and popular culture activities of the city which is so much like a matrix and a reflection of American life and the gaudy behavior of Hollywood. Yet Gronk has a recognizable style. In most cases, it's like an especially vibrant, complex graffiti art, often with images or intimations of menace though these are usually outweighed by an artistic ambition and vision kept from crystallizing by irresolvable conflicts. In fewer works, Gronk does depict a unitary, sometimes single emotion or state and sometimes an ironic or other statement. Though usually reflecting the harsh or conflicted feelings which are the subject matter of Gronk's art, these nevertheless have the simplicity of a snapshot with only a few objects. These simpler art works correspond to feelings or situations Gronk has personified in his performance art or complemented in his set designs. Gronk's diverse art is put in the context not of biography, but of culture and his relationships with others. Benavidez is an independent scholar who has taught at UCLA and participates in the area culture in different ways.