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A greatest hits collection of the great 20th century muralists

July 21, 2010 |  2:30 pm

GregorioLukeMuralLecture The problem with murals is that they tend to stay put, like the mountain Muhammad had to go to in the old proverb because it wasn't about to come to him.

Gregorio Luke has long offered a solution to Southern Californians who want to get an overview of the master Mexican muralists of the 20th century -- not to mention a little fresh air -- without overtaxing their travel budgets.

His "Murals Under the Stars" series of art-history show-and-tells using giant projections began while Luke was director of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach from 1999 to 2007. Since then, Luke has also used the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre and the Hollywood Forever cemetery as venues for his multimedia elucidations of Mexican art, history and culture.

All popular art forms have their greatest hits compilations, and now Luke is offering his own: He's bringing "The Best of Murals Under the Stars" to the Museum of Latin American Art on Sunday, promising "a general panorama of the muralist movement." The museum's website promises 30 life-size projections focusing mainly on works by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siquieros and Rufino Tamayo, but also showing murals of Juan O'Gorman, Pablo Esteban O'Higgins and Jose Gonzalez Camarena that Luke hasn't previously included in his murals series.

The program starts at 7 p.m. and is the first of a three-part Sunday evening series at the museum, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence. On Aug. 1 Luke will continue with "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, an Artistic Marriage," and conclude Aug. 8 with "Mexico's 200 Years," a look at Mexican history and art that will include musical high points and screenings of scenes from classic Mexican films.

Tickets cost $30 per evening, $10 for students and seniors, or $70 for the entire series. Information: (562) 437-1689.

-- Mike Boehm

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Photo: Gregorio Luke lectures about Diego Rivera's murals in 2005. Credits: Los Angeles Times