PRINTS OF THE PEOPLE
THE TALLER DE GRÁFICA POPULAR September 19, 2012 | January 20, 2013
The Taller de Gráfica Popular (People’s Print Workshop, or TGP) was one of the most influential print studios of the 20th century. Founded in Mexico City in 1937, the TGP’s mission was informed greatly by ideals of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, especially equal access to educational opportunities and the championing of Mexicanidad, the unique heritage of Mexico created by the melding of indigenous and European cultures. The TGP’s collaborative print shop taught printmaking, mostly lithography and linoleum block printing, to those who had no previous art training. The goal, much like that of the Mexican mural movement, was to create art about Mexican culture, history, and the goals of the revolution for a broader audience.
Though not as famous as los Tres Grandes—José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, the artist members of the TGP were prolific and highly political printmakers, with a tremendous influence on print workshops around the world. Their collaborative printmaking model inspired other shops in the U.S., throughout Europe, and in Japan. Foreign artists came to work at the TGP and took its collaborative model back to their home countries. Self Help Graphics & Art in Los Angeles, one of the presses that published prints in Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection, was inspired by the TGP’s example.
One of the masterpieces of the exhibition is Posada en Su Taller (Posada in His Studio). This large linocut created by one of the founders of the TGP, Leopoldo Méndez, ties the studio to Mexico’s great printmaking history and tradition, specifically to the father of modern Mexican printmaking, José Guadalupe Posada. Méndez shows Posada watching government soldiers repress fieldworkers demonstrating for land reform as he works on a plate for one of his prints. This protest print carried on a tradition of the TGP, as well as inspiring artists in the Estampas exhibition.
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This exhibition was organized by the McNay Art Museum.
The Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment and the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions are generously funding this exhibition.