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.

asarozapata72Modernized woodcut portrait of Zapata by ASARO Collective. Interesting the choice of punk style for a contemporary version of Zapata.

zapataolivares72Here 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.

zapatawoodolivares72This is the woodblock the Olivares printed on the day that McCloskey visited TPG.

zapatawebgrayscale1ASARO, Emiliano Zapata, Woodcut, 39 1/8″x 27 1/4″, 2007.

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5 Responses to “Taller de Grafica Popular”

  1. Toni says:

    if you are interested in the TGP, and want to see some of their wonderful work, come check out our new exhibit “A Legacy of Change” in Austin, Texas at Mexic-Arte Museum which features some of it.

  2. jasonurban says:

    Thanks for the tip, Toni. I will definitely try to get to the show.

  3. […] make it to the SG conference, titled Global Implications, in Chicago this year but thanks to Printeresting I feel like I was there in the windy city […]

  4. Normandus Vang says:

    Hello. Yes, Olivares work is amazing, I feel proud of working in the TGP. Greetings from Mexico

  5. Noah Bardach says:

    A database-driven catalog of works by the Taller de Gráfica Popular from 1937 to 1974 is available online at http://www.graficamexicana.com/Catalog_Viewer.asp?dir=start. Most of the entries are text, but there are also nearly 150 works by the TGP that can be viewed, many in hi-def. HTH. Cheers, Noah