The Frist Center for the Visual Arts will open the exhibition Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920–1950 in the Upper-Level Galleries Feb. 2, 2007. Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, Mexico and Modern Printmaking continues through April 15, 2007.
The exhibition, which a recent Los Angeles Times review called “a revelation,” examines the vital contributions made by Mexican artists such as José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo who, while known more for their murals and paintings, made a wide-reaching impact on the world of printmaking. Mexico and Modern Printmaking features 125 woodcuts, linoleum cuts, etchings and lithographs by 50 Mexican artists, and a number of artists from outside the country who came to Mexico to be a part of its printmaking renaissance.
The exhibition comprises prints and posters made from the end of the Mexican Revolution until the period immediately following World War II. Fought from 1910 to 1920, the Mexican Revolution overthrew the 30-year dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and established such far-reaching goals as equitable distribution of land, full literacy and racial equality. The spirit of reform was accompanied by a new appreciation for the art and culture of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, and Mexico’s leading artists launched a national art movement that evoked the nation’s agrarian past while embodying and communicating the social and political goals of the Revolution.
Mexico and Modern Printmaking was organized by John Ittmann, Curator of Prints at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Lyle Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the the McNay. “As Mexican artists embraced the graphic arts, they helped define a post-Revolution Mexican identity,” says Lyle Williams. “Printmaking in Mexico changed the notion of what public art is, and posters and prints emerged as the ideal means for disseminating political and social as well as artistic ideas. This was an art of the people for the people.”
“Post-Revolution Mexico witnessed a broad-based revival in printmaking that developed alongside the better-known public mural program,” adds John Ittmann. “Trained artists shed their academic styles and determined to bring their prints to broad segments of the Mexican populace, whose own daily routines and familiar surroundings became the true-to-life subjects of everybody’s prints. This exhibition presents the groundbreaking contributions of Mexican and foreign-born artists at a pivotal moment in Mexican art.”
The exhibition is drawn almost entirely from the collections of the two organizing museums. The Philadelphia Museum of Art possesses exceptionally rich holdings of prints by Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros and Tamayo, largely as a result of the collecting interests of Carl Zigrosser, the Museum’s Curator of Prints from 1940 until 1963. A distinguished print historian and enthusiastic promoter of modern printmaking, Zigrosser was the director of New York’s Weyhe Gallery from 1919 to 1940, when the gallery was a major advocate of modern Mexican art. In the exhibition, prints from the Philadelphia Museum of Art are joined by others from the McNay, which owns an especially broad range of work by artists affiliated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular (Graphic Workshop of the People). A much-celebrated print workshop founded in Mexico City in 1937, the Taller played a crucial role in sustaining the Revolution’s lofty ideals by simultaneously publishing limited-edition prints of Mexican subjects, aimed at international collectors, and mass-produced posters and leaflets, intended for widespread distribution to the native populace.
Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920–1950 will be divided into three sections. The first will examine the rediscovery of printmaking by Mexican artists in the wake of the Revolution, while showing how artists sought to define Mexican identity through its historical past and in images of everyday life. The second will focus on works by the three artists most closely associated with the Mexican mural movement: Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco (known in Mexico as “Los Tres Grandes” for the magnificence of their work). The third section will address art as an agent of social and political reform, highlighting the advocacy and visual polemics of the Taller de Gráfica Popular during its first dozen years of operation.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Frist Center has received a grant from the U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services to fund select programs and activities during the exhibition, and the addition of a bilingual educator to the Frist Center staff. The Frist Center also is working with the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt University on a number of collaborative programs, including community outreach, translation services and public programs.
Organizers and Sponsor
The exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Presenting Sponsor is Allstate.
The Print Sponsor is The Tennessean.
Contemporary Cultures: Prints by Antioch High School Students
In conjunction with Mexico and Modern Printmaking, the Frist Center will feature an exhibition of recent prints by 15 Antioch High School students in the Conte Community Arts Gallery. During the autumn of 2006, the students participated in after-school printmaking workshops and worked with professional artists to learn printmaking techniques. In the process, students have developed a greater understanding of Mexican history, heritage and artists and have had an opportunity to express their ideas about culture and contemporary society through their own prints and essays. The project culminates with an exhibition of the students’ prints at the Frist Center, on view Jan. 12–May 6, 2007. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Presenting Sponsor is Allstate.
Programs scheduled in conjunction with Mexico and Modern Printmaking include:
Friday, February 2 Curator’s Perspective Lecture
6:30 p.m. “The Evolution of the Graphic Arts in Mexico”
Lyle Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, (San Antonio, Texas) and co-curator of Mexico and Modern Printmaking, offers an overview of the exceedingly rich printmaking tradition in Mexico. This lecture will take the audience on an abbreviated version of the adventure the curator has taken over the past few years, starting with the earliest printmaking activities in Mexico and ending with a brief comment about current Mexican printmaking.
Saturdays, February 3, 10, 17 and 24 Frist Center Kids Club: Retablo-Style
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Self-Portraits
Meet in the Art Library and Resource Center
Ages: 5 – 10
Free: call 615-744-3357 to register
Saturdays in February, Kids Club members will consider themselves as the subject of their art, as they create retablo-style portraits on metal, just like Mexican folk artists. This activity will be presented in both English and Spanish simultaneously. Kids Club offers exciting opportunities for children to discover, explore and create art. Free membership includes a Kids Club card, art classes and additional rewards for participation.
Thursday, February 15 Off the Wall Lecture
6:30 p.m “Making Art and Revolution: The Prints, Politics, and
Auditorium History in Mexico’s Taller de Gráfica Popular,
(Presented in English with Spanish translation)
Dr. Edward Wright-Rios, Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, will discuss the Taller de Grafica Popular, providing the historical and political context of the world’s most enduring graphic arts cooperative. Spanish translation will be provided through a portable microphone/earphone system provided by Vanderbilt. Presented in collaboration with the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt. The moderator is Dr. Frank Robinson, professor of History at Vanderbilt University.
Friday, February 16 ARTini 7:00 p.m.
Free with purchase of gallery admission
Frist Center Educator for Outreach Susie Elder and Bilingual Outreach Educator Martin Cadieux will lead an ARTini talk about one or two pieces of art from Mexico and Modern Printmaking.
Saturday, February 17 and Teen Printmaking Workshop
Sunday, February 18 Location: Studio A
Registration required, call 744-4904
Cost: $40 per participant
Teens are invited to participate in a workshop that explores printmaking techniques and allows participants to create their own prints. Workshop hours are Saturday, 10:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 22 Gallery Talk 7:00 p.m.
Free with purchase of gallery admission
Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala will discuss Mexico and Modern Printmaking.
Thursday, March 8 Off the Wall Lecture
6:30 p.m “Mexican Art: The Meaning in Images”
Auditorium (presented in English with Spanish translation)
Dr. Leonard Folgarait, Professor of Art in Modern Latin America at Vanderbilt University, will discuss how the artists’ stylistic choices help to emphasize the overall meaning of their prints. Using a few key images from the exhibition, Dr. Folgarait will look at color, composition and other factors in his analysis. Spanish translation will be provided through a portable microphone/earphone system provided by Vanderbilt. Presented in collaboration with the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt University. The moderator is Dr. Frank Robinson, professor of History at Vanderbilt University.
Sunday, March 11 Family Day
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The Frist Center presents a fun-filled day of exciting art activities, live music, dance and larger-than-life theatrical performances with friends and family. This Family Day is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Thursday, March 15 Gallery Talk (in Spanish)
Free with purchase of gallery admission
Rosa Fernandez, expert in Latino arts, culture and history, will discuss the exhibition in Spanish.
Saturday, March 31 Nashville Ballet Performance:
2:30 p.m. “Jump Frog Jump” (“Salta Ranita Salta”)
The ballet is a tale about a clever frog that escapes snakes, fish, turtles and other dangers by leaping away. Narrated in Spanish only, the performance gives children an opportunity to encourage the frog (or ranita) to jump (or salta) out of harm’s way. Based on the book by Robert Kalan with choreography by Bat Abbit, this performance is made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Thursday, April 12 Off the Wall Lecture
6:30 p.m “The Heroic Theme in Multi-ethnic Societies: What We
Auditorium Can Learn from Mexican Art”
Free (presented in English with Spanish translation)
Dr. Gary Gossen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York, will discuss the artists and prints from Mexico and Modern Printmaking exhibition to illustrate his theme of multi-ethnic societies. Spanish translation will be provided through a portable microphone/earphone system provided by Vanderbilt. Presented in collaboration with the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt University. The moderator is Dr. Frank Robinson, professor of History at Vanderbilt University.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features over 30 interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and under and to Frist Center members. Frist Center admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and military, and $6.50 for college students with ID. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3246. The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting our Web site at www.fristcenter.org.