Above: Eduardo Carrillo, Testament of the Holy Spirit, 1971.Oil on panel, 47 3/4 x 60 in. Crocker Art Museum Purchase with funds from the Maude T. Pook Acquisition Fund, 1972.24

Exhibition: Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo (Testamento del espíritu: Pinturas de Eduardo Carrillo)
Venue: Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street, Sacramento, CA
Dates: June 24 – October 7, 2018

  • Artist known for advancing Chicano culture in California in 1960s and 1970s
  • Talented painter known for intense use of light, color, shapes, and textures
  • Vibrant paintings highlight Carrillo’s creative efforts and social importance

Sacramento, Calif. – UPDATED June 20, 2018 – On Sunday, June 24, the Crocker Art Museum will bring to Sacramento an expansive exhibition of works by Eduardo Carrillo, a painter, teacher, and social activist known for advancing recognition of Chicano art and culture in California. His large-scale oil paintings have been described as mystical, surreal, and visionary, while his intimate watercolors reflect the artist’s daily life in self-portraits, still lifes, and images of people and places he held dear. Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo (Testamento del espíritu: Pinturas de Eduardo Carrillo) reflects on the artist’s relationship to his native California as well as to his Mexican heritage, his early religious upbringing, and the European tradition of art.

This bilingual exhibition features more than 60 paintings and watercolors spanning nearly four decades of the artist’s production, from the late 1950s through the late 1990s. Works on view include a promised gift to the Crocker by members of the Carrillo family, as well as two works in the Crocker’s permanent collection.

Stated the Museum’s Executive Director and CEO, Lial Jones, "It is no coincidence that our exhibition title comes from the painting Testament of the Holy Spirit, which Eduardo Carrillo painted in his Sacramento home, and was acquired by the Crocker in the 1970s. We have long collected and exhibited works of art that reflect the diversity of our community, and I am pleased that we are able to present an entire exhibition of Carrillo's work, and highlight a bit of Sacramento's Chicano history."

Born in Santa Monica, California, Eduardo Carrillo (1937–1997) grew up in Los Angeles. In 1960, he studied for a year at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, where he also assisted with the restoration of a church altar. As he immersed himself in studies of the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, Giorgio de Chirico, El Greco, Diego Velázquez, and other European artists at the Museo del Prado, Carrillo found life-long inspiration that informed his own style and sense of aesthetics.

After returning to the U.S. and earning a BFA (1962) and MFA (1964) from the University of California, Los Angeles, Carrillo taught at the University of California, San Diego’s extension program. He then moved to his paternal ancestral home in Baja, where he and his first wife, Sheila, founded El Centro Regional de Arte in La Paz, to help revive the area’s local art traditions. He returned to the U.S. in 1969, and joined the Chicano civil rights movement El Movimiento, advancing to the forefront of the cause. During this time, Carrillo collaborated with three other artists to complete the nine-paneled Chicano History (1970) for the Chicano Studies Research Center at University of California, Los Angeles—the first Chicano history mural to be painted at a university in the United States. After the violent events of the Chicano Moratorium of August 1970 in Los Angeles, Carrillo moved to Northern California to accept a teaching position at California State University, Sacramento, and was involved briefly in the Royal Chicano Air Force, an artists’ collective.

Said Crocker Art Museum Associate Curator Kristina Gilmore:
“Carrillo’s time in Sacramento was brief—just two years—but was truly a turning point, as it coincided with his growing interest in Chicano art and political activism. He took these passions with him to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he introduced Chicano art into the curriculum and organized Chicano events and festivals."

Eduardo Carrillo, Self Portrait, 1960 Oil on canvas, 84 x 132 in. Private collection.

In the early 1980s, working with Philip Brookman and Tomás Ybarra Frausto, he organized and directed the multiyear, statewide initiative, Califas: Chicano Art and Culture in California. This groundbreaking conference included lectures, exhibitions, oral histories, videos, workshops, and performances. The landmark event continues to inform and influence the way Chicano art and culture are considered and presented, just as Carrillo’s art sustains connection and continues to inspire.

“As seen in his artwork, teaching, and social activism, Carrillo never walked away from efforts to eliminate the racism that spurred the civil rights movement,” said Guest Curator Susan Leask. “He was an inspirational leader and visionary with ability to bring people together in collaborative and efficacious ways, as he addressed racism and injustice throughout his career. He was very passionate about creating programs and platforms that promoted greater awareness of Latin American culture, aesthetics, and social concerns, and that passion can be seen in his art.”

As this exhibition highlights the artist’s creative efforts and social importance, it features work created for three distinct realms: public, private, and museum. Viewers may see evidence of Carrillo’s appreciation for Renaissance and Baroque art, pre-conquest sculpture, and the artists and culture of Baja California, Mexico.

Eduardo Carrillo, Las Tropicanas, 1972–73. Oil on panel, 84 x 132 in. Crocker Art Museum, Promised Gift of Juliette Carrillo and Ruben Carrillo.

“Eduardo was beloved by all who were lucky enough to know him personally—he had a puckish sense of humor that is evident in many of his paintings," said Gilmore. I think visitors will have a great experience, especially those who take the time to look closely. In his larger works, they’ll find bold color and mysterious, dreamlike imagery, with frequent references to the history of art—like visual riddles. On the other hand, his smaller watercolors are often more subtle and down-to-earth; they offer a glimpse into Eduardo’s own life and charm.”

A 32-minute, bilingual video by Pedro Pablo Celedón, “Eduardo Carrillo: A Life of Engagement”, will be on view in the exhibition. Wall text describing the art and the artist, as well as labels for the individual works on view in the exhibition, will also be offered in both English and Spanish.EXHIBITION ORGANIZER
Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo (Testamento del espíritu: Pinturas de Eduardo Carrillo) is organized by Crocker Art Museum and curated by Guest Curator Susan Leask.

This exhibition is accompanied by a full-color, bilingual catalogue with contributions by exhibition guest curator Susan Leask, Philip Brookman, Gilberto Cárdenas, Maureen Davidson, Michael Duncan, Tim Drescher, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Tere Romo, and Christina Waters. The catalogue will be available for purchase in the Crocker Art Museum Store.

High resolution images of some of the works in this exhibition are available to press/media upon request. Please email kchristian@crockerart.org

Karen Christian
Media Relations Associate, Crocker Art Museum
(916) 808-1867


Teacher Workshop: Eduardo Carrillo
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Eduardo Carrillo’s artwork has been described as mystical, realistic, surreal, and visionary. His imagery, whether grounded in the everyday or infused with magical realism, reflects his relationship to his native California and to his Mexican heritage. Participants will tour Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo and other works in the Crocker’s collection and come away with diverse activities and hands-on projects that can be used in the classroom to explore Chicano art and culture. Register HERE.

ArtMix |¡Viva!
Feelin’ hot, hot, hot? Join us for a south-of-the-border party inspired by the exhibition Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo, with music by Maya Latin Roots featuring cumbia, Tex-Mex, salsa, cha cha, reggaeton, and Latin rock beats. Plus, imbibe in Tequila talks, ballroom dance lessons, and enthralling performances by Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl-Citlalli. Ticket information HERE.

Lunch & Learn
Join an in-depth examination of a single work of art at this monthly program. On August 7, we will focus on Chicano History, 1070 by Eduardo Carrillo, Sergio Hernández, Ramses Noriega, and Saul Solach. Before or after the 30-minute gallery conversation, take time to enjoy lunch at the Crocker Cafe by Supper Club. Event listing HERE.

Artful Meditation
Calm your mind, and experience the art of the Crocker in new ways with long-time meditation practitioner and instructor Ian Koebner, Ph.D., and Adult Education and Art Access Coordinator Erin Dorn. Participants are encouraged to dress comfortably for this 90-minute program. Space is limited to 20. Each session is free thanks to the generous support of the Hemera Foundation. Participants can register in advance to secure their seat HERE.

Stories in Paintings: Exploring Narrative in the Paintings of Eduardo Carrillo
The paintings of Eduardo Carrillo are filled with imagery, symbolism, and evocative settings. Spend a relaxing evening in the gallery of the exhibition Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo and see what narratives and stories come to you. Light guidance will be provided. More information HERE.

Panel Talk: Perspectives on Eduardo Carrillo
Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo offers a vast exploration of Latin American cultures, aesthetics, and social concerns through the lens of the California Chicano artist. To gain an even greater understanding of Carrillo’s impact, three scholars will come together to offer their own perspectives on his work and activism. Exhibition curator Susan Leask will be joined by Chicano art historian Tere Romo and journalist and arts professor Christina Waters for an enlightening and wide-ranging conversation. Ticket information HERE.


    Draw Faces, Including Your Own! – Designed for All Levels
    Ages 14-17
    More information HERE.
    Self Portrait Drawing for Beginners (bilingual)
    Ages 18+
    More information HERE.


The Crocker Art Museum’s mission is to promote an awareness of and enthusiasm for human experience through art.

About the Crocker Art Museum
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums for characteristics of excellence, the Crocker Art Museum features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of European master drawings and international ceramics. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and holds permanent collections of Californian, European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art, works on paper, ceramics, and photography. The Museum offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to augment its collections, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, children’s activities, and more. The Museum has also dedicated the historic building’s entire first floor as an education center, which includes four classrooms, space for student and community exhibitions, the Gerald Hansen Library, and Tot Land.

Hours & Admission
Museum hours are 10 AM – 5 PM, Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 AM – 9 PM on Thursdays. General admission is free for Crocker members, adults $10, seniors and college students $8, youth (7-17) $5, and children 6 and under are free. Every third Sunday of the month is "Pay What You Wish Sunday", sponsored by Western Health Advantage.

Location & Parking
The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in downtown Sacramento. The Museum is accessible by Light Rail with stops close by at 8th & O and 8th & K streets. Bike racks are located in Crocker Park, across the street from the Museum’s front door. Ample parking is available within walking distance, including street parking, parking lots, and public garages.

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