Carlos Almaraz, “American Sampler” (1986), pastel on paper, 29 x 23 inches (Carlos Almaraz Estate Collection)

Museums and galleries across the nation are rapidly closing their doors due to COVID-19. On the flip side, many of these spaces are realizing that they can reach audiences (well beyond their typical zip codes) online. On Thursday, March 19, 5pm (PST), the beloved Los Angeles space LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes will live stream a walkthrough of its latest exhibition on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

The exhibition, titled Evolution of Form, focuses on a key member of the Chicano Art Movement, Carlos Almaraz. Born in Mexico City in 1941, Almaraz moved to the United States at the age of five, eventually settling in Los Angeles at the age of nine. His commitment to art began at a young age, and like many legendary Los Angeles artists, Almaraz eventually got his MFA from the Otis Art Institute (today the Otis College of Art and Design).

Carlos Almaraz, “Echo Park” (1974), oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches (Carlos Almaraz Estate Collection)

Through drawings, sketches, and paintings, Evolution of Form will trace how Almaraz evolved from conceptualism and minimalism (during his years in New York, in the 1960s) to bright, figurative work when he was back living in Los Angeles by the 1970s — Angelenos in particular will appreciate his saturated, mysterious paintings of Echo Park. Almaraz also became one of the members of the influential Chicano artist collective, Los Four, founded in 1973 and committed to making public art. The LA Plaza exhibition includes a special mural on paper, just recently restored, titled “La Conquista” (1972).

Carlos Almaraz, “La Conquista (The Conquest)” (1972), gouache on paper, 47 x 130 inches (Carlos Almaraz Estate Collection)

Almaraz’s widow, the artist Elsa Flores Almaraz, will co-lead the virtual tour with curator Susana Smith Bautist. Flores Almaraz will touch upon collaborations with her former husband and has also shared for the exhibition black-and-white photographs that she took between 1975 and 1982 of the Chicano art scene and activist movement in Los Angeles. This should be a truly unique opportunity to gain deeper and personal insight into Almaraz and his influence. For those of you who can’t catch the stream live, the video will be archived on the LA Plaza website.

When: Thursday, March 19, 5pm (PST)
Where: Streaming on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @laplazala

More info at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.