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Lot 20
29 October 2012, 18:00 PDT
California, Los Angeles

Sold for US$50,000 inc. premium

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Chaz Bojórquez (American, born 1949)

Señor Suerte

signed with the artist's monogram
zolatone paint and stencil spray paint on canvas

71 5/8 by 55 1/8 in.
182 by 140 cm.

This work was executed in 1979.


This work has been requested by the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, for their forthcoming solo exhibition dedicated to the artist that will be held from November 2012 to June 2013.

Acquired directly from the artist in 1979

Los Angeles, LACMA, Los Angelenos / Chicano Painters of L.A.: Selections from the Cheech Marin Collection, 2008
Los Angeles, MOCA, Art in The Streets, 2011

'Although the origins of American graffiti are typically traced back to New York and Philadelphia in the late 1960s and '70s, an earlier history began in the barrios of Los Angeles decades before. Here a subculture developed among Mexican-American youths who were both detached from the culture of their parents and, because of widespread discrimination, prevented from identifying as entirely American. The pachucos, as they called themselves,...didn't stray far from the small neighborhoods where they lived. Gangs emerged as a means of asserting cultural pride and maintaining control over their communities, and street writing was a way of defining territory.
In the postwar period, pachuco culture developed into the cholos gangs of the 1960s. Derived from the Aztec word xolotl, meaning "dog", the word cholo had been used in the United States as a derogatory term for a person of Mexican heritage, but in the '60s, Mexican-American activists reclaimed the term along with Chicano for themselves, transforming an ethic slur into a badge of pride. Cholo gang members, like the pachucos, emphasized the creation of a uniquely Chicano youth culture based around the streets.'

Cheech Marin in: Art in The Streets Exhibition Catalogue, LA MOCA, 2011 p. 146

Chaz Bojórquez is universally acknowledged as one of the pioneers of this distinctive 'cholo' style. The roots of his art are as fascinating as they are diverse; alongside the influence of Mexican-American street art, Bojórquez's study of Chinese calligraphy has had a long-lasting effect on both his artistic and spiritual outlook. The sinister skull, nicknamed Señor Suerte (Mr Luck) has become his trademark image, featuring in both his street art and his gallery pieces since the 1960s.

His interests also extend beyond the purely visual; in the late 1970s, Bojórquez embarked on a long international tour, during which he visited and lived in 35 countries, studying the cultural influences and impact of street art in various societies. The current lot includes many references to Bojórquez's personal life. AVE 43 refers to Avenue 43 (the street he lived on in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles) and the lower section of the canvas is a role call of the artist's friends and associates, including POLLO, the nickname of the original purchaser of this work. The small squares in between depict Latino graffiti symbols.

Additional information