A Message From the Fullerton Museum Center, August 5, 2004

RE: Alma Lopez artwork at the Fullerton Museum Center

Thank you for your e-mail regarding our upcoming “Virgen de Guadalupe” exhibit.

Recently, a website called “La Voz de Aztlan” published two articles regarding the upcoming “Virgen de Guadalupe” exhibit. Both articles purported to be written by Mr. Cienfuegos.

The first article, written in the form of an open letter to me, alleged the Museum’s press release stated the exhibit would contain an artwork by Alma Lopez which the writer called “Guadalupe in a Bikini.” (The actual title of the work in question, according to Ms. Lopez, is “Our Lady.”) The writer protested what he said was the inclusion of this artwork in our exhibit.

After reading the letter, I contacted Mr. Cienfuegos and told him the information he had published was inaccurate in that we were not - nor had we planned on - exhibiting the work in question. We were, in fact, planning to exhibit an entirely different work by Ms. Lopez titled “Maria de Los Angeles,” which honors a woman who has done much for the people of Los Angeles.

Rather than correcting his inaccurate article, Mr. Cienfuegos instead published a follow-up piece Aug. 3 which implied that, based on the information that he provided us, the “Lady” piece had been removed, and the Museum would “instead” exhibit “Maria de Los Angeles.” Again, this is a completely inaccurate statement on his part as the “Lady” piece was never considered for this exhibit.

The piece “Maria de Los Angeles” was selected months ago by our guest curator for inclusion in the exhibit. During the time she was researching possible artwork for the exhibit, our guest curator considered several of Ms. Lopez’ works, as well as works by numerous other artists. She eventually selected “Maria de Los Angeles” as the piece that best fit the curatorial themes in the exhibit.

Based on his two articles, it seems apparent Mr. Cienfuegos is not interested in the facts pertaining to our exhibit. As you might imagine, it is difficult to counter inaccurate information spread through the internet. I hope this message will help allay any concerns prompted by the inaccurate Cienfuegos articles.

We are meeting with the Museum’s Board of Directors and legal advisors to determine possible further courses of action. We are confident in the work of our guest curator, Lynn LaBate, a highly-respected curator and educator, and we look forward to including Ms. Lopez’ work, as originally planned, in the exhibit.

If you are interested in attending the exhibit, please visit our website at for further details. If you have further questions or concerns regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me at (714) 738-6589. Again, thank you for your recent e-mail and interest in our upcoming exhibit.

Joe Felz, Director Fullerton Museum Center

Attachment: Original press release on “Virgen de Guadalupe” exhibit

Subject: Virgin of Guadalupe focus of Museum exhibit

She is one of the most recognizable images in the world, symbolic not only of faith and hope, but of a nation and its culture, as well.

“She” is the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, and a mainstay of the Catholic religion. Said to have appeared nearly 500 years ago on a hillside north of Mexico City, She remains a potent icon whose image continues to exert power and influence today.

This embrace of the Virgin’s image by diverse groups for different purposes will be explored in “The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion,” a new exhibition opening at the Fullerton Museum Center Saturday, Aug. 28.

A special preview reception of the exhibit will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27.

Organized by guest curator, Lynn LaBate, a specialist in Latin American art, and the museum staff, the exhibit will illustrate three aspects of the Virgin of Guadalupe that contribute to a contemporary interpretation of the icon: the devotional image; the use of the image to promote political aims and Mexican national identity; and the use of the image by Chicano artists in the United States as a cultural or personal identifier.

Spanning a period of 500 years, items on display in the exhibition will include pre-Columbian Aztec sculptures; devotional objects, including retablos (paintings), bultos (sculptures), and ex-votos from Mexico and New Mexico; prints by Jose Guadalupe Posada; textiles, ceramics; installations; and photographs.

Contemporary artists represented will include Yreina Cervantes, Roberto Diaz, Ricardo Duffy, Alma Lopez, Pattsi Lopez, Yolanda Lopez, Charles Mann, Betsabee Romero, Marianne Sadowski, John Michael Walker, and John Valadez. Participating lenders for the exhibit include UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History and the Museum of the American West.

The exhibit runs through Nov. 28.

The award-winning Fullerton Museum Center, named the “Outstanding Arts Organization” for 2003 by Arts Orange County, a nonprofit county-wide arts council, is located at 301 N. Pomona Ave., east of Harbor Boulevard, in downtown Fullerton. Museum Center hours are noon-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon – 8 p.m. Thursday.

Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for students with student identification and senior citizens 65 and older, $1 for children 6 to 12, and free to children under 5 and to members of the Fullerton Museum Center.

Admission is $1 for all visitors from 4-8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month.

Admission to the preview reception is $10 for adults and $5 for children 5- 5-12. Admission will include dinner, a curator’s talk, and live entertainment.

Reception reservations and further information about the exhibit may be obtained by calling the Fullerton Museum Center at (714) 738-6545.

Persons requiring special accommodations to attend the reception or view the exhibit are asked to notify the museum staff prior to coming to the Fullerton Museum Center.