Art
METAREAL: The Life and Legacy of Stevon Lucero
A two-month multimedia retrospective of works by the celebrated Denver artist
BY
Erin Barnes
March 23, 2022

Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge. Photo by Sam Nguyen

“While creating Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge, Stevon and I talked a lot about the role that Meow Wolf is playing in the evolution of human consciousness,” says Adrian H Molina (aka Molina Speaks), one of the two lead artists that created the mind-expanding installation on C Street in Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station.

“For many centuries, only the kings and the nobility owned art. Stevon talked about the degradation that had on the human spirit, and the importance of bringing art consciousness back, and spiritual consciousness back through art…Making art accessible in new ways beyond the critics, beyond the museums. Bringing art back to the masses.”

Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge. Photo by Sam Nguyen

Stevon Lucero and Molina worked together from sunrise to sunset for weeks on end, the younger artist learning about painting from the master artist. There were grueling days. The process was not always easy. Along the way, Lucero was able to impart his expansive wisdom to Molina.

dream stream on the wall in Convergence Station's Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge
Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge. Photo by Sam Nguyen

“Stevon was keenly aware of the fact that he was an elder artist creating in this youthful futurist space,” says Molina. “He didn’t speak about it that much. He was just of it. He knew he belonged there. It was like time was catching up to itself. So he spent a lot of time talking about time and space and what we were installing. There were some days where we had to stop painting and he had to tell a story. It might take two hours, but that’s what needed to happen before we got back to work.”

rainbow colors over a circle image with a lot of motion going on on the walls of Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge.
Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge. Photo by Sam Nguyen

The fruits of their collective effort was a psychedelic masterpiece titled Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge. It depicted a dream Lucero had that, despite being fifty years ago, was painted in blazing technicolor and crystal clarity. The Dreamscapes Lounge “grows out of Chicano consciousness, and is informed by Toltec and Mexica worldviews,” according to the artist's statement. “It bends past and future, and blends the waking world with the dreaming world.” There is a 90-minute soundtrack featuring Molina and the nationally renowned DJ Icewater, as well as an accompanying video by Emily Swank of Fannypack Films. The room’s soundtrack also features original music by producer Diles and multi-instrumentalist Felix Ayodele.

circles with images of faces and futuristic landscapes inside Convergence Station
Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge. Photo by Sam Nguyen

Mere months after his exhibition opened to the public, Lucero passed away at the age of 71. He had painted in Denver for 40 years, and developed a style of painting called “metarealism,” which takes the spirit from within and makes it tangible. He pioneered this unique style alongside his work in Neo-Precolumbian (Aztec) art. Indigenous Futurist Dreamscapes Lounge was the last large-scale work of art that Lucero created before his great transition. It was his final blast of soul translated across the realms of art and dreams into reality.

Four months later, Meow Wolf is honoring the life and legacy of Stevon Lucero by featuring works from his storied career in an exhibition called METAREAL, which runs from now until May 28 in Galleri Gallery. This exhibition showcases his various styles across time while affirming his journey as a visionary, spiritualist, and Metarealist.

gray face projecting a landscape of trees and mountains with lots of green
Sixth World by Stevon Lucero, part of METAREAL exhibit at Galleri Gallery

“There is art in the exhibition that has never been shown publicly, including an unfinished piece,” says Molina, “where you literally would have had to visit Stevon Lucero’s home and be in his living room to see these pieces. Not only does the show span different styles of Stevon’s work and legacy, but there is some material in there that you’re only going to see it (sic) at this moment.”

Through the creation of his visual mystic metaphors, Lucero cultivated the unique ability to see within and beyond. Along with his visual art, guests will experience his words and insights, and witness his creative process with the elements.

colorful image of a side profile of a person with lots of bright colors and a stern face
Penitente by Stevon Lucero, part of METAREAL exhibit at Galleri Gallery

“Serendipitously enough, Stevon’s dream that is depicted in our room is the convergence of four individuals that walk into a pyramid,” explains Molina, which is a spine-tingling coincidence considering that Convergence Station shows the convergence of four worlds. “These individuals share an experience where they become one, and one human soul shoots off into the multiverse having had this journey in consciousness along the way.

He was destined to do this work at Convergence Station.”

circular Aztec calendar with a bright blue background like lightning
Aztec Calendar by Stevon Lucero, part of METAREAL exhibit at Galleri Gallery

The METAREAL exhibition opening reception takes place at Convergence Station this Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m. Lucero’s work will be showcased and for sale in Galleri Gallery until May 28th. Proceeds go to the Lucero family. Here is a teaser of an exclusive video that will only be viewable in the gallery, featuring Lucero’s voice and teachings:

Credits:

  • Curated by Stevon’s wife Arlette Lucero, his children Tana, Paul, and Joshua Lucero, collaborating artist Adrian H Molina (aka Molina Speaks), and Meow Wolf artist liaison Annie Geimer
  • Audio production by Rodney Sino-Cruz w/ original music provided by Molina and Sino-Cruz
  • Video production by Emily Swank w/ video contributions courtesy of Molina, Jilann Spitzmiller, and Meow Wolf Denver
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