Taller de Grafica Popular
Kevin McCloskey sent us some timely links to his recent essays about Mexico and his research regarding the Taller de Grafica Popular (Workshop of the Peoples’ Graphics). The TPG is a printmaking collective founded in Mexico City in 1937 by a group of radical Mexican artists. According to art historian Lincoln Cushing, the TPG is “arguably the single most significant graphics workshop in the Americas” and “virtually unknown in the United States.”
The first essay sets the tone a bit in terms of the current political situation and discusses a contemporary Mexican political art group called the ASARO collective, the Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca. The group has experienced some commercial success recently but it’s little comfort as the group’s goals are political not financial. As the political climate changes and the goverment takes more steps to control dissent, the group has gone from posting on the streets to showing in galleries and have even established there own- Espacio Zapata. McCloskey helped arrange and curate an ASARO exhibition at the Fowler Museum at UCLA called “La Tinta Grita/The Ink Shouts: The Art of Social Resistance in Oaxaca, Mexico.”
The second essay goes into McCloskey’s search for the legendary Taller de Grafica Popular in Mexico city and his chance meeting with TPG master printer Reynaldo Olivares. Both essays are worth a read.
Here are a few images from ASARO and Olivares of Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary leader from the early part of the century.
Here is a Zapata portrait by Reynaldo Olivares. According to Olivares’ friend Dick Reavis, this is a suelagraph. “Suela” is spanish for “sole” as in the sole of a shoe. Olivares uses a neoprene material made for shoe soles and carves it as if it were linoleum.
ASARO, Emiliano Zapata, Woodcut, 39 1/8″x 27 1/4″, 2007.