Cypress College Presents ‘El Artist’ — Works of J. Sergio O’Cadiz Moctezuma Sept. 19-Nov. 14

Sergio O'Cadiz standing next to the concrete sculpture he designed.

As part of Cypress College’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, the Cypress College Art Gallery presents the work of J. Sergio O’Cadiz Moctezuma this month.

Exploring O’Cadiz Moctezuma’s innovative poured concrete process, “El Artist” displays paintings, drawings and public artworks that demonstrate his often-controversial, boundary-crossing creativity.

“His work makes OC stare uncomfortably at what it never dreamed of when it came to its Mexicans: unapologetic. Proud. Talented. Successful,” writes journalist and author Gustavo Arellano. “‘My idea of America,’ [O’Cadiz Moctezuma] once told the Los Angeles Times, ‘is the right to be as Mexican as I want.’”

For over 50 years, O’Cadiz Moctezuma created public artwork, Chicana/o and community-based murals and studio-based works that have contributed to the cultural life of Orange County. His work, though often sparking debate, raises compelling questions about who determines history, who is provided a voice in the public arena and who is considered an American.

Although many of O’Cadiz Moctezuma’s public pieces have been destroyed or removed from view, his legacy is displayed within the selections presented in “El Artist.” His talent is further seen, although often unknowingly, on the Cypress College campus, which is home to one of O’Cadiz Moctezuma’s massive, 4,500-foot, acid-stained concrete murals.

A reception with a performance of “Piedras y Luz by the Cypress College Dance Department and Maha & Company is scheduled for Thursday, September 19 from 6-8 p.m. The Cypress College Art Gallery is at 9200 Valley View Blvd. in Cypress. Additional events throughout the duration of “El Artist” include a screening of “Border South/Frontera Sur” and Q&A with director  Raúl Paz Pastrana on Thursday, September 19; a concrete casting workshop with Ed Giardina on Monday, September 23; a talk with Arellano on Thursday, October 3; alecture by former Director of the Museum of Latin American Art, Consul of Cultural Affairs of Mexico in Los Angeles and the First Secretary of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington DC Gregorio Luke, “Siqueiros: A Revolutionary in Art and Life,” on Tuesday, October 14; and a concurrent show, “Hostile Terrain” created by anthropologist Dr. Jason De León.

“El Artist” is presented as part of the 5th SUR:biennial. Established by the Director of Outpost for Contemporary Art, Ronald Rafel Lopez, to explore the complex notion of globalization and exchange that takes place in the ambiguous borderlands between Los Angeles and the broader “South,” SUR:biennial features the works of local and international artists who have been influenced by the cultures and artistic traditions of Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. This year, Cypress College joins the Cerritos College Art Gallery, the Eastside International (ESXLA), the Long Beach City College Art Gallery, the Rio Hondo College Art Gallery, SPARC: The Social & Public Art Resource Center, and Torrance Art Museum.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 176 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 73 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 115-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.


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