Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada (b. 1852 Aguascalientes, d. 1913 Mexico City) died three years into his country’s revolution, yet the thousands of satirical illustrations he left behind suggest he was always fighting injustice. After Posada: Revolution revolves around a “forest” of over one-hundred rarely seen Posada images as they circulated during his lifetime: in popular single-page newspapers illustrating political commentary, crime stories, ballads about everyday life, and more. Featured are the printmaker’s beloved calaveras(skeletons), as well as his fiercest works depicting moments from the Mexican Revolution, such as the exploits of leader Emiliano Zapata. Drawn from a collection never before presented publicly, and including several seldom-seen small books and metal-faced wood printing blocks, the exhibition recontextualizes Posada’s images, which are more often presented in museums through posthumously-produced stand-alone prints. This exhibition presents Posada’s graphic oeuvre through materials seen at the time, and alongside photographs printed during the period, by Augustin Victor Casasola. Meanwhile, the exhibition illuminates Posada’s legacy through three exhibitions within the exhibition, featuring new works by Andrea Bowers, Rafa Esparza, and Cruz Ortiz. While Bowers’ large-scale prints of political figures are homage to Posada’s, Esparza’s adobe installations and performances are inspired, in part, by the printmaker’s efforts to make the marginalized more visible. For Ortiz, who also is designing the exhibition’s graphic identity and its publication, Posada has served as a life-long touchstone, for his own printmaking activities inside and outside the studio and use of the medium as a language of resistance. Both inter-generational and multi-media, After Posada: Revolution, which will be on view at EPMA as we celebrate Day of the Dead in October 2018 and will be accompanied by printmaking activities and a publication designed by Ortiz, links Posada’s practice with that of others. Thus, it enlivens understandings of not only an important figure and of EPMA’s collection, but also of what it means to address social and political injustice in art, past and present.
Support for this exhibition is provided by Texas Commission on the Arts.What's Happening