Controversial and Critically Acclaimed, Luis Jiménez Portrays the American Southwest
Steeped in the culture of his native Texas and Mexican heritage, Luis Jimenez’s massive, neon-colored, fiberglass sculptures provocatively depict cowboys, barrio workers, and Native American and Hispanic dancers. His best known work, Man on Fire (1969), is a figure engulfed in flames; it was dually based on the Aztec emperor Cuauhtémoc, who was burned alive by Spanish conquistadors, and Thich Quang Duc, the Buddhist monk who set himself ablaze in protest against the Vietnam War. Despite his success, Jimenez’s work was stylistically and conceptually controversial: he made large outdoor sculptures that were outlandish and garish in a time when Minimalism reigned in the art world. Moreover, with little concern for political correctness, he challenged many with his retelling of the history of the American West. Jimenez died tragically from an accident in his studio while working on a commission.
Mexican-American , 1940-2006, El Paso, Texas, based in Hondo, New Mexico