Art Museum, CSWR collaborate on print exhibit
Paper, and Politics: Taller de Gráfica Popular,"
a two-part exhibition on political imagery in twentieth century
Mexico, and collaboration of the UNM Art Museum and the Zimmerman
Librarys Center for Southwest Research (CSWR), opened
this past Friday and runs through Jan. 11.
Art Museum will exhibit more than 60 posters and a number of
fine art prints. The CSWR will display fliers, handbills, periodicals,
books and portfolios.
a group of politically engaged artists banded together in Mexico
City to form the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP), translated
as Workshop for Popular Graphic Art. They proposed to apply
the unique properties of the printits rapid and inexpensive
production and potent visual persuasionto the consolidation
and continuation of the aims of the Mexican Revolution.
artists of the workshop Leopoldo Méndez, Pablo
OHiggins, and Luis Arenal were closely associated
with the Mexican Mural Movement. OHiggins was an assistant
to both Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, and all participated
in the League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists, known by
its acronym LEAR.
OHiggins, and Arenal were quickly joined by other artists,
and, by 1949, the influential Taller had 26 active members and
a number of visiting artists, many from the United States.
declaration of principles stated a dedication to make art of
the highest aesthetic standards, which also expressed social
realities of Mexico. The goal was a technically accomplished
and politically impassioned art that would teach and inspire
an essentially uneducated population in the remaking of México
under the egalitarian principles of the Revolution. The workshops
use of inexpensive prints followed the tradition of José
Guadalupe Posada, whose popular prints were sold widely in the
streets and barrios of México City and distributed far
beyond the city. Yet the TGPs prints differed from the
thousands of cheap, popular broadsides produced by Posada at
the turn of the century. He depicted sensational crimes, current
events, and scenes from Mexican daily life. In contrast, virtually
the entire production of the Taller de Gráfica Popular
was a cry for political or social action.
was structured as a true collective enterprise. Members met
weekly to decide on commissionsmany of which they worked
on collaborativelyand to submit their work to collective
critiques. Trade unions, cultural groups and government agencies
hired the TGP to produce posters and handbills. In addition,
the TGP printed fine art portfolios for sale to collectors,
primarily in North America, and its members provided illustrations
for books and periodicals. TGP images addressed a variety of
causessupport for freedom of the press, workers
rights, literacy campaigns, land reform and the nationalization
of industries; and opposition to fascism and imperialism. The
Taller de Gráfica Popular provided the dominant political
imagery in Mexico for decades.
Taller de Gráfica Popular Collection is one of the most
extensive collections of this material outside of Mexico. It
is held jointly by the University Art Museum and the Center
for Southwest Research of the General Library and represents
a major collections initiative. In addition to the objects on
display in these two exhibitions, the CSWR holds extensive archival
materials from the Taller de Gráfica Popular.
Family Foundation provided support for conservation of the fragile
materials and the UNM Latin American/ Iberian Institute for
photographing and researching the poster collection.
exhibit is open Monday-Thursday 8a.m.-midnight, Friday 8a.m.-9
p.m., and Sat. 9a.m.-6p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. to midnight.
Art Museum is open Tuesday-Friday 9a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday 5-8
p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m., and during most events at Popejoy Hall.
The museum is accessible to the mobility impaired. For those
with special needs, call 277-4001 one week in advance.