ABOVE: Constantino Escalante "No sé porque sospecho que son estas manzanas tienen pelos" (1863) BELOW: Leopoldo Mendez "Cabeza de Juarez" (1972)
The targeted political caricature artists have been on my mind, so I revisited "La Reforma” at the Mexican Consulate in Las Vegas, the exhibition of over 100 early illustrations and lithographs that feature Constantino Escalante and political cartoonists of La Orquesta, plus selected works from Taller de Gráfica Popular (The People's Print Workshop), which was founded in Mexico City in 1937. The collection is a celebration of Mexico’s national aesthetic of caricature and critical journalism that is as deep and rich as the work from France.
Though not in materials for the show, Taller de Gráfica Popular history is also about a stable of artists that directly influenced the Chicano art movement. The exhibition also had me think of a contemporary of Escalante, José Guadalupe Posada, the lithographer for publications and broadsides who is best known for his calaveras that are now contemporary symbols with each Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos) celebration each November. That nationalistic printmaking influenced the Mexican mural movement, which led to modern Latin American art, and of course, the thematic mural that is now marching in new contemporary forms.
"La Reforma, El Imperio y La República: Estampas y caricaturas de la intervención francesa" at the Consulate of Mexico Las Vegas ends January 16. Open from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
ABOVE: James Turrell at Crystals monorail station.