Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This document includes the text of the catalogue and the program of lectures and film screenings related to the exhibition, Posada: Printmaker to the Mexican People. The catalogue opens with “Corrido of the Coming of Don José Guadalupe Posada to the Famous North American City of Chicago,” an anonymously written and clever parody of a traditional corrido [a type of Mexican folk song] which tells the tale of how the exhibition came to Chicago, slyly noting that, “ . . . Don Lupe [Posada] hated crime./ Had he come here in our nineteen-twenties/ He’d have had a magnificent time!” In the catalogue text, Fernando Gamboa provides an overview of the historical context in which Posada worked, a description of his life, and a brief mention of some of the artistic traditions, such as textiles and ceramics (majolicas), that surrounded the artist as a child. The author also provides a paragraph on the indigenous cultures, including those of the Tarascos and Náhuatls, which infused the culture of Posada’s hometown of Aguascalientes.

Annotations

This essay by Fernando Gamboa, a Mexican arts administrator and art historian, appeared in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Posada: Printmaker to the Mexican People, a display of 807 prints by the Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1944. The exhibition was documented in an extensive catalogue authored by Gamboa—principal organizer of the exhibition in Mexico and Mexican Commissioner of the Exhibit in Chicago—with Carl O. Schniewind and Hugh L. Edwards. This important document addresses an early showing of Posada’s work at a major museum in the United States, and documents an interchange between the museum and the SEP, Mexican Ministry of Public Education. The program for the “Posada Seminar,” which was organized to accompany the exhibition, shows that the Art Institute of Chicago’s interest in Posada was shared by such figures in the United States as Carl Zigrosser, the curator of prints at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and René d’Harnoncourt of the Museum of Modern Art. (Both institutions amassed significant collections of Posada’s prints during this period.) This document, by promoting the graphic work of Mexico’s preeminent printmaker, embodies the thematic category In Pursuit of Democracy: Graphics and Community-Building. It must be stressed, in this case, the “community-building” occurred across borders.

Researcher
Victor Alejandro Sorell, Gabrielle Toth; Harper Montgomery, collaborator
Team
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, USA