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.