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Desert X Artist Has Solo Show at RAM

Lost in the Andes. Coachella native Armando Lerma gets Lost in the Andes

Riverside, Ca—The Riverside Art Museum (RAM) proudly presents Armando Lerma’s Lost in the Andes, running October 3, 2019–January 5, 2020, with a free, open-to-the-public Opening Reception on Thursday, October 3, 6 p.m.–8 p.m. Lost in the Andes is generously sponsored by the City of Riverside, The James Irvine Foundation, and California Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions.

Beginning with scavenged, discarded signs, their familiar corporate logos long faded, Lerma creates art that reflects his Mexican-American heritage and borderland upbringing with an aesthetic that is inherently Californian. Found objects and pop culture imagery are tightly woven together, infusing disparate mythologies and a multitude of cultural references into his artistic practice. This expression of Chicano art that is resourceful and adaptable is described as rasquache.

Living and working in the southern California desert city of Coachella, “Lerma is one of the undisputed kings of rasquachismo,” says Todd Wingate, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at RAM. Lerma’s work has been showcased at Desert X, the recurring international contemporary art exhibition that activates the Coachella Valley desert with site-specific installations.

For Lerma, Lost in the Andes denotes the idea of a paradise lost and of venturing into the unknown. Lerma is inspired by the Hopi creation mythology of the Long Migration, where each Hopi clan was to go to the farthest extremity of the land in every direction. Led on their journeys by various signs, the Hopi clans finished their prescribed migrations and were led to their current location in northeastern Arizona.

“I’ve been traveling to Mexico since ‘94 in search of art and culture and the source of it all. My travels through Mexico have been a huge influence on my work. I’ve never been to South America; Lost in the Andes refers to me going further. It all is symbolic of my art journey/life journey,” says Lerma.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the Riverside Art Museum to present the work of Armando Lerma, a lifelong resident of Coachella Valley and a prolific and distinguished artist,” says Drew Oberjuerge, Executive Director of RAM. “At the Riverside Art Museum, we hope to continue to showcase artists throughout Riverside County.”

Lost in the Andes is part of The Cheech @ RAM series of exhibits leading to the opening of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry of the Riverside Art Museum.

RAM is in the final stages of a fundraising campaign to move forward with the renovation of the current Main Library building and transform it into The Cheech. The two-year renovation will have a positive impact creating architectural and construction jobs in the area. Once open, The Cheech will continue to be a great boost to the local economy.

To see more exhibits like Lost in the Andes at The Cheech, please consider a donation in any amount. You can also buy The Cheech merchandise in RAM’s Blue Door Museum Store.

Consider being part of the Founders Wall, which will include the names of individuals who were first to pledge their support for The Cheech with donations beginning at $5,000, $10,000, and beyond. The prominence of naming placement increases with giving levels, as do the benefits. This opportunity expires after December 31, 2019. When visitors across the nation come to The Cheech, be sure your name and support is memorialized for all to see!

“I see the cactus plant as a cultural interpretation of The Tree of Life,” says Ofelia Valdez-Yeager, Campaign Chair for The Cheech. “The cactus plant grounds us, provides nourishment, healing, and allows for growth and re-generation through its leaves and fruit, providing hope and inspiration for now and the future.”

To learn more about how to be part of the Founders Wall, contact Drew Oberjuerge, RAM Executive Director, at or 951.684.7111.

About the Artist

Armando Lerma (born January 8, 1975, Indio, CA) is an American artist working in various media including painting, sculpture, and installations. His work is inspired by the art and culture of past civilizations, American pop culture, the folk and sacred art of the American Southwest and Mexico, and touches upon a wide range of topics: history, myths, legends, ancestral spirits, anthropology, the mundane, and the mysterious. His work exhibits a folk-art aesthetic using found recycled materials such as vintage signage, corrugated metal, and plywood, as well as drawing, painting, and collage in his mixed-media work.

Lerma has exhibited in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London, and Oaxaca. Recently, he has had solo exhibitions at Ace Gallery (Los Angeles, 2017) and Eastern Projects (Los Angeles, 2018). Lerma participated in the Desert X Biennial in 2019. His work is in the permanent collection of the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA), the Gene Autry Museum (Los Angeles, CA), and the Palm Springs Art Museum (Palm Springs, CA). Lerma lives and works in Coachella, CA.

Sponsored by: City of Riverside, The James Irvine Foundation, California Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions, Betty and Walter Parks, California State University San Bernardino


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