Marine_SPARC_DuronThere’s nothing wrong with celebrating diversity, but sometimes portrayals of ethnic identity can flatten perceptions of a group through generalizations and stereotypes.

On Saturday, Armando Durón intends to do a bit of corrective education by giving a talk at the current exhibit on the walls of his namesake gallery in Venice.

“A Short Essay of Chicano Photography,” featuring 28 images from a 45-year (1969 to 2014) span of the Durón Family Collection, exhibits through May 1.

Saturday’s talk features members of the family talking about the diversity of their more than 500-piece Chicano art collection, which includes paintings, silk screen prints, sculptures and an extensive library of books collected across three decades.

Durón’s mission is simple yet necessary: “To show through photography how wide and varied Chicano art actually is,” he said.

“Most people think of Chicano photography as documentary photography, political. It became easy to categorize [works] as iconic and colorful. I’m trying to show that Chicano art is very much more than that,” he said.

L.A.-based Gronk, for example, is best known these days as a painter and a set designer for the operas of Peter Sellars. Yet his photo “Hamlet,” snapped in 1974, is something different altogether.

“We see a Mexican-American from the shoulders down. We can’t see a face, can’t see who he is. By merely lowering the lens, Gronk creates a totally conceptual image,” Durón said.

— Michael Aushenker
Durón speaks from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice. Call (310) 822-9560

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