DATE 3/30/2018

Inscrutable and disorienting: Rineke Dijkstra

DATE 3/29/2018

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DATE 3/25/2018

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DATE 3/24/2018

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DATE 3/22/2018

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DATE 3/21/2018

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DATE 3/21/2018

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DATE 3/21/2018

Mitch Epstein signing 'Rocks and Clouds' at Dashwood

DATE 3/20/2018

Alphonse Mucha was both the 'greatest decorative artist in the world' and a humanitarian philosopher

DATE 3/19/2018

A visual language meant to express beauty in 'Alphonse Mucha'

DATE 3/18/2018

BACK IN STOCK! Mina Stone: Cooking for Artists

DATE 3/17/2018

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a little Belfast Punk

DATE 3/16/2018

What is 'The Sausage of the Future'?

DATE 3/15/2018

The enigmatic, unreadable writings of Mirtha Dermisache

DATE 3/14/2018

Joyce J. Scott: "I skirt the borders between comedy, pathos, delight, and horror"

DATE 3/13/2018

Bringing boundless joy: Anna Zemánková

DATE 3/12/2018

Weird and beautiful: Anna Zemánková

DATE 3/11/2018

Singular, odd and inspiring: Danh Vo: Take My Breath Away

DATE 3/10/2018

Subversive, even scandalous: Francis Picabia: Littérature

DATE 3/10/2018

Mojos, mandalas and divining tools: Chris Martin

DATE 3/9/2018

Provocateurs of the human body in 'Klimt and Schiele: Drawings'

DATE 3/8/2018

Celebrate International Women's Day… 1975 to now!

DATE 3/7/2018

Celebrate Women's History Month with Marina Abramovic's rendition of 'The Ugly Duckling'

DATE 3/6/2018

Watch the Video Trailer for "Johnny Cash at Folsom and San Quentin: Photographs by Jim Marshall"

DATE 3/6/2018

René Magritte: The Revealing Image

DATE 3/5/2018

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DATE 3/5/2018

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DATE 3/5/2018

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DATE 3/4/2018

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DATE 2/28/2018

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DATE 2/28/2018

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DATE 2/28/2018

Amy Sillman book event and 'Scarlet Street' screening at Metrograph

DATE 2/28/2018

'Entanglements: Plans and Accidents' at the Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 2/27/2018

Jack Whitten and the rock-bottom meaning of universality

DATE 2/27/2018

Brian Blomerth's 'XAK'S WAX' zine launch at MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 2/26/2018

Black History as told through 'Black Dolls'

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DATE 2/24/2018

Boom boxes, break dancing and the Salsa King: Black History from Jamel Shabazz

DATE 2/23/2018

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The meaning of color, both racial and painterly

DATE 2/22/2018

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DATE 2/20/2018

Four Generations of 'Solidary & Solitary' work by artists of African descent

DATE 2/20/2018

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DATE 2/19/2018

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DATE 2/19/2018

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DATE 2/17/2018

Celebrate Black History with Mark Bradford

DATE 2/16/2018

Christian Wassmann book launch at Spoonbill Studio



Mexico Illustrated 1920–50

RM/Conaculta's gorgeous new edition of Mexico Illustrated 1920-1950 is an expansion of the 2011 volume of the same name—already the most comprehensive and indispensable tome on the subject ever compiled. Both lush and scholarly, the 2015 edition includes more than 300 illustrations ranging from revolutionary pamphlets to travel guides, avant-garde manifestos, poetry collections and children’s books—all situated around seven essays and a wealth of short biographical texts on masters of the form including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo and David Alfaro Siqueiros, alongside lesser-known artists such as Ramón Alva de la Canal, Jean Charlot, Miguel Covarrubias, Dr. Atl, Gabriel Fernández Ledesma and Leopoldo Méndez. Taken together, these works and histories tell the story of a search for national identity in the wake of the long, bloody and contentious Revolution that ripped through national life roughly from 1910 until 1920.

book design Mexico Illustrated 1920–50
ABOVE: El Nacional. Diario popular (Mexico City) III, XII, “2ª época,” 29 November 1931 | Cover by S.M. Báez | Hemeroteca Nacional, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

The book begins with works that deal directly with the Revolution, including texts on historical figures like Emiliano Zapata, revolutionary novels, poems by the Groupo Agorista, a collection of engravings by the Taller de Grafica Popular, and more. These illustrations all engage in a similar graphic vernacular encompassing a clear moral struggle between right and wrong. The agrarian revolutionary hero is both humble and powerfully defiant, while the oligarchs of the old regime are as cruel as they are greedy. These early illustrations include iconic images of slain combatants by Diego Rivera, commemorative lithographs by J.C. Orozco and engravings by the Taller de Gráfica Popular.

Mexico Illustrated 1920–50
ABOVE: El Sembrador. Órgano de la Secretaría de Educación Pública (Mexico City) 2, 5 May 1929 | Cover by Diego Rivera.

But as the Revolution faded and the government came into its own, illustration evolved to provide a cultural space that could define a new national identity. In his essay contribution, historian Mauricio Tenorio Trillo defines the resulting conception of “Mexicanness” as the “Brown Atlantis"—the idea of Mexico that “evokes prickly pear cactuses, millennial traditions, close-knit, pristine indigenous communities, sombreros, pistols, pyramids, Toltec, Aztec or Mayan frets, evolution, siestas, spiritual superiority, amatory incontinence, unhurriedness, ever-present past, anti-mechanism, the mixing of races and brown skin, plenty of brown skin”—a representation of Mexico that spread to (and was often fetishized by) other countries, especially the bordering United States. Rather than combat these images of “Brown Atlantis,” many of Mexico’s great post-revolutionary illustrators inhabited them as a framework, including the more radical avant-gardists, whose aesthetic innovations often upheld Mexican stereotypes rather than challenge them.

Mexico Illustrated 1920–50
ABOVE: Carlos Mérida, Carnival in Mexico. Mexico City, Talleres Gráficos de la Nación, 1940 | plate 6, Huejotzingo, Puebla.

In contrast, Juan Manuel Bonet’s essay, On the Trail of the Mexican Avant-Garde, provides an extremely detailed history of the period’s experimental art movements and the journals through which the associated artists distributed their work. For anyone interested in the mid-century's international avant-garde, this chapter provides an invaluable web of names, groups and titles to flesh out later. The estridentistas are featured prominently, as well as Dr. Atl and reproductions from many small-run journals. Though producing distinctly Mexican work, these artists created in close dialogue with the international movements in Spain, France and, of course, the Soviet Union, whose influence is apparent in the chapter devoted to radical, left-populist, anti-fascist political illustration of the 1930’s.

Mexico Illustrated 1920–50
ABOVE: Xavier Villaurrutia, Dama de corazones. Mexico City. Ediciones de Ulises, 1928.

Mexico Illustrated 1920–50
ABOVE: El Machete. Periódico obrero y campesino (Mexico City) 404, 1 May 1936 | Unsigned cover.

Politics remain a theme even in the chapter on children’s book illustration, which places special attention on the efforts of the government’s Secretaria de Educacion Publica (SEP) to promote literacy and education through cheap, large, editioned books aided by the “seductive elements of illustration.” The illustrations in this section are seductive, and stand out from the rest of the book with their whimsical imagery and bright coloring (like the top hat-wearing, bicycle-riding frog, Rin-Rin Renacuajo). Especially enjoyable are Manuel Ávila Camacho’s moralistic “hallelujah” stories; in one, a canon comes to life and refuses to continue fighting in war.

Mexico Illustrated 1920–50
ABOVE: Antoniorrobles, Aleluyas de Rompetacones. 100 Cuentos y una Novela. Illustraciones de Peinador. Nº8 Ved a un balón pintoresco que sube con viento fresco.

Perhaps the greatest testament to Mexico Illustrated is that despite the physical and academic density of the book, the vivacity of the images makes the book feel light—and alive. When I bumped into a friend while flipping through the book at a cafe, he pointed to the table and said, “That’s a huge book.” I had been lost in a Xavier Villaurrutia drawing, and only then did I realize the open book’s spread pages had taken up the whole surface of the table, my coffee cup about to fall off the edge.
Mexico Illustrated 1920–50
Mexico Illustrated 1920–50

Mexico Illustrated 1920–1950

Mexico Illustrated 1920–1950

Clth, 9.5 x 12.75 in. / 336 pgs / 405 color.

DATE 11/19/2017




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