Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, We Are the 99% and Posada

The images of Posada were used over and over during his lifetime and continue to be used today carrying just as much energy as they did over 100 years ago. Thanks to the modern day capabilities of Photoshop here we have the Calavera Don Quixote representing the 99% shaking up the 1% of the wealthy. Posada's images lend themselves well to the digital age. Imagine what he might he created today! The calavera Don Quixote was created by Posada circa. 1900. The image was modernized by Art Hazelwood and Jim Nikas, then printed by Marsha Shaw of the Mission Grafica at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Arsacio Vanegas Arroyo Honored in Mexico City: Part of the Legacy of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo and JG Posada

In this poster from left to right are Arsacio Vanegas Arroyo, Maria Antonia Medrano and young Fidel Castro Ruz.  The legacy of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo and JG Posada is demonstrated here by answering the question whether Arsacio would have been in a position to help the Cuban Revolution if his grandfather and Posada had not had such a successful collaboration? We will explore this concept in the documentary.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jose Guadalupe Posada and El Mosquito Americano

This cartoon attributed to Posada and published by Antonio Vanegas Arroyo shows Mexican citizens being attacked by "Americanos" depicted as mosquitos. But what is the actual meaning? Based on the verses that accompanied the image and on currrent events, there are at least three interpretations. But regardless of the interpretation the message is humor filled and with a dash of the acidic.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jose Guadalupe Posada Calaveras Inspire Modern Merchandise Design

Calaveras del Monton is a real action image. Note how Posada skillfully makes the calavera with the knife appear as though he is leaping out of the scene. Many of the images Posada created were used over and over by Vanegas Arroyo. There are two solid reasons for this: first, it was economical as the image was bought and paid for plus there was no waiting for a new image to be made and second, if an image was good, it sold broadsides. The image shown here  appears in at least six different titles in as many years, making it one of Posada's most popular. Designed by Edgar Collazo this T-Shirt on the bottom left borrows from the Posada image above, perhaps it is better to "shred" with a guitar than with a knife!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Uncle Sam Eats Cuba: A Political Cartoon Attributed to Jose Guadalupe Posada

During our research related to the documentary film about the collaboration between publisher Antonio Vanegas Arroyo and Jose Guadalupe Posada we have found a variety of political cartoons which although apparently unsigned have been attributed to Posada by several authors. In this image Tio Sam "aka" Uncle Sam is portrayed with an evil look in his eyes as he is about to devour a little head representing Cuba. We suspect the cartoon was made some time after 1898, post the Spanish - American War, when Cuba was newly under US military rule. We hope to find the original published source of the image and anyone reading this is welcomed to help! Note also that Mexico is also on the plate!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don Antonio Vanegas Arroyo hired Jose Guadalupe Posada

      The art world has given attention to the artistic genius of Jose Guadalupe Posada but what of don Antonio Vanegas Arroyo (b. Puebla, Mexico 1852- d. Mexico City, 1917)? Vanegas Arroyo recognized Posada's talents by hiring him. But it was much more than just the hiring of a talented artist. Once the talents of Posada were combined with the editorial pen, staff of writers and business savvy of Vanegas Arroyo, a formula for success was created. The successful body of work they produced set a stage upon which generations of artists would ply their own talents toward roles in shaping history. The documentary we are working on will examine and cast a bright light for the first time on the career of don Antonio and also his family who carried on his traditions in the publishing business. We believe there are connections and influences that extend well beyond the borders of Mexico.  The collaboration of Vanegas Arroyo and Posada helped inspire use of art in social movements as with the Taller de Grafica Popular and the A.S.A.R.O print workshop in Oxaca, but also civil rights movements in the USA. There is also the support given by the family to the Cuban Revolution. We hope ultimately to reveal and examine the historical record of these relationships for future generations.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jose Guadalupe Posada at SFSU Art Gallery Exhibition México: Política y Poética

San Francisco State University is presenting México: Política y Poética an exciting exhibition of contemporary art from Mexico running from February 17 through March 24, with multiple related public programs. After leaving SF State, the exhibition will travel to Sweden's Nordic Watercolor Museum. Works by Jose Guadalupe Posada from the New World Prints Collection are on display.

The items to the right a include 5) a Posada illustrated broadside with a calavera , 6) a work by Ramos Martinez, 10) a work by Daniel Guzman and 11) a work by Dr Lakra.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jose Guadalupe Posada and the Taller de Gráfica Popular

In 1937, the Taller de Gráfica Popular (or the "People's Graphic Workshop") was founded in Mexico by a group of artists led principally by Leopoldo Méndez (1902-1969), Pablo O'Higgins (1904-1983) and Luis Arenal (1908-1985). The “TGP” was a artists' collective concerned mainly with using art to advance social movements. The political activism that flowed from their collective energy influenced many collaborations in Mexico and abroad. Most scholars and the TGP artists themselves would agree that the works of Jose Guadalupe Posada were foundational toward influencing and inspiring their work. Although Posada and publisher Antonio Vanegas Arroyo rarely displayed work that was as overtly expressive as the artists of the TGP, they truly did inspire them and many others. In this image Leopoldo Méndez pays homage to Posada. He positions Posada, burin in hand, with a studious gaze out the workshop window where Rurales are at work. On the table Méndez shows us Posada’s engraving in reverse and in the background, the printshop workers look toward Posada with seeming anticipation if not admiration.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jose Guadalupe Posada and the Klu Klux Klan

Two images were joined together to form one for this unflattering look at the Klu Klux Klan. The large calavera on the left was cut from the broadside entitled Gran Calavera Electrica, it is signed in the plate by Posada. The portion on the right with the klansman in the white sheet is an unsigned addition and likely not by Posada. Although the Klu Klux Klan formed in the US in the 1860s, its influence in Mexico has been noted beginning around 1915 and into the early 1920s. The Mexican version of the KKK (unlike the racist based US KKK), was a group of upper-class men that adopted KKK clothing to remain anonymous with the idea that they would rout out corruption as an activist organization. One leading newspaper, Excelsior, battled against the group taking the position that crimes were being committed behind identity concealing sheets and that even if there were just intentions, the ultimate result was increased crime. As an aside, the KKK were active mainly in the southern US, but as well as in San Diego during the 1920s where some records show evidence of its interaction with Mexicans coming to the US for work.This broadside was satirizing the Mexican based KKK, calling them out as brave while they hid behind sheets. It was likely printed after Posada's death by Blas Vanegas Arroyo, possibly in the early 1920s (1923?) but its exact date is unknown. Regardless, it shows the reuse of Posada's artwork for social commentary.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mexican Consulate of San Francisco Extends Jose Guadalupe Posada Exhibition

The Consulado de Mexico de San Francisco, CA, has extended its exhibition of historic works on paper by Jose Guadalupe Posada. The works include original prints showing political, historical, religious and sensational themes as illustrated by Posada and some by Manual Manilla. Both artists worked for the printing house of  A.Vanegas Arroyo. All works are from the New World Prints Collection. A variety of calavera images in recognition of Dia de los Muertos are in the show. Included in this exhibition are selected prints and supportive illustrations showing Posada's influence on contemporary artists such as Frida Kahlo, Leopoldo Mendez, Ester Hernandez and the ASARO movement of Oaxaca. The show will remain open until March 8. Located in the gallery and main floor at the Consulate located on Folsom Street between 1st and 2nd Streets in San Francisco, CA. There is a lecture planned for March 3, 2011, details as follows:
La Revolución Social de José Guadalupe Posada
Lecture by exhibition curator: Jim Nikas
Thursday, March 3, 2011
6:30 PM until 8:30 PM
Seating is limited to the first 80 attendees, RSVP required
Consulado de Mexico de San Francisco
532 Folsom Street (between 1st and 2nd Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94105
RSVP Contact: Ms. Marimar Suarez email:

Thursday, January 13, 2011