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Chapter 48 : Graphic design in Latin America, Part I; Colombia, Peru, Venezuela & Mexico

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Graphic design in Colombia has a relatively long historical tradition, evidenced by the oldest printed work in the country dating from the seventeenth century. Colombia's most important graphic designer is David Consuegra who was born in the capital of Santander, Bucaramanga, in 1939. He enrolled in Boston University for graduate studies in Fine Arts (BFA), at the age of sixteen, where he received his Cum Laude in 1961. He received his master degree in Fine Art from Yale University, where not only he graduated with top marks in 1963 but also, thanks to his talent and skills landed a teaching position. He soon began to work with Paul Rand in his studio in New York.

He returned to Colombia, to teach at the University of Los Andes, and in 1967 at the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, He founded the first graphic design program in the country. Over the years 1966, 1977 and 1982 he was involved in restructuring of the program of Advertising Design at the National University of Colombia, where he became a Professor Emeritus in 199i. He also worked as a graphic designer for the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá over the 1964-68. He translated and edited The Book of Signs by Rudolf Koch, and also published books such as Origami, the art of duplicity, Enlightenment and type design.

Throughout his career Consuegra applied his skills in graphic design, typography, editorial, production of posters, corporate identity and graphic illustration. He exhibited his posters, logos, symbols and photographs, in solo shows and in numerous group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, and created numerous corporate graphic identity design for businesses in his country, the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and Korea. He received several awards, including Gold Medal, awarded by the Colombian Association of Designers, the first prize in the category of symbol, on two occasions, awarded by the National Corporation for Tourism in 1991, and the organizers of the Pan American Games in 1996, respectively. Consuegra was recognized nationally and internationally for the creation of dozens of marks, symbols and logos, such as Inravisión, Crafts of Colombia, Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá, Icollantas, Croydon, ISERR, Industrial University of Santander.
Consuegra was a member of International Trademark Center of Belgium and a visiting professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Barcelona. He died in Mexico City, on October 30,  at the age of 64, while participating in the Eighth International Poster Biennale in Mexico in Xalapa.

Dicken Castro, architect and graphic designer was born in Medellín, Antioquia in 1922]. He graduated as an architect at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, and did his postgraduate studies in architecture at the University of Oregon,  USA, where he then become an assistant professor. He resided for several years in Seattle, and worked as a professor at the University of Washington. He also served as design architect in New York. He then decided to study urban planning in Bouwcentrum Rotterdam, the Netherlands and joined the Planning Office in The Hague. Later Castro returned to Colombia, as a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Architecture.

He created many graphic designs,  symbols and logos for various Colombian institutions. Castro studied the pre-Columbian ceramics and textiles and graphic design, experimenting with the use of rollers and seals, these studies culminated in 1976 with an exhibition at the Centro Colombo Americano. In 1980 he was invited to the International Exhibition at the School of Fine Arts in Paris, where he painted a mural, and five bus lines of the city were decorated Colombian style. Castro also experimented with photography, with special emphasis on conservation and preservation of visual memory of everything that could be reproduced mechanically. This interest led him to promote the creation of graphic arts office of the National Museum as a member of the advisory board of the Museum. In 1970 many of his designs were exhibited at the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, under the symbolic name, the exhibition held in 1976 pre-Columbian designs in the Centro Colombo Americano. Part of his work has been exhibited in Guatemala, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Ireland.

Catalog with color planes generating spaces, Dicken Castro, 1962

Poster for the development of the Colombian Pacific coast, Dicken Castro, 1980

Logo, Metéfora tissue with materials, colors, and geometric shapes, Dicken Castro, 1995

Born in Duitama, Colombia in 1943. Marta Granados studied at the Javeriana University and at the University of Los Andes, in Bogota; subsequently at the National Superior School of Decorative Arts, in Paris, and the Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. Presently, she works for Colcultura, Museum of Modern Art, Patrimonio Fílmico Foundation, Santillana Foundation, The National Theatre and the Economic Cultures Found.

Her work has been shown individually in the Modern Art Museum of Bogota in 1983 and 1992, in Santillana del Mar in 1985, in the Grand Palais of Paris in 1986, and in the Book Fair of Guadalajara, in 1993. She has also participated in the Poster Biennials in Warsaw, Lathi, Colorado, Helsinki, Tehran and Mexico, where she obtained the 2nd prize in the cultural poster cathegory, in 1992. Her designs have been published in Graphis Poster, Who is Who in Graphic Art, World Graphic Design Now and Comunication Arts.


The inception of graphic design in Peru may be dated with the pioneer works Claude Dieterich, a calligrapher and hand letterer from Avignon, France, who after studying fine art and graphic design in Grenoble, France, worked as a graphic designer for a variety of magazines and design studios in Paris. After avisit to South America in 1961, he resided in Lima, Peru, where he opened by own graphic design studio. For the next 25 years, Dieterich designed logotypes, corporate identities, and publications, many of which won various awards for excellence. 

He also taught graphic design at the Catholic University in Lima, and during his seven year tenure, he became the dean of the school of Graphic Design. One of Dieterich's most influential calligraphy teachers was Hermann Zapf, with whom he studied in Rochester, New York. Shortly after this period of study in the mid-1980s, he then moved to the United States where he lived in New York and in Miami before settling in the US west coast. Since 2002, he has spent his summer vacations teaching calligraphy in Lima.

Fabian Delaflor a Peruvian graphic designer  working in Miami, Florida,  attended Miami Dade College for graphic design, and began working as a graphic/web designer for the Miami Herald, and soon finished a BFA from the Miami International University of Art and Design. Fabian cites the eccentric art of Ralph Steadman and Robert Crumb as inspiration to his emotionally charged, sometimes dark, and whimsical interpretations of everyday people.

Jesús Ruiz Durand, Cuatro afiches de difusión de la Reforma Agraria (Four propaganda posters for the Agrarian Reform), 1969-1972, Courtesy: Museo de Arte de Lima Collection, Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee 2007.

Under General Juan Velasco’s military government, Jesús Ruiz Durand designed a propaganda strategy to publicise the regime’s Agrarian and Industrial reform, which aimed to return land to peasant communities and change Peru’s social structure. Unlike other reform processes in Latin America, the implementation of the reform in Peru did not emerge in response to mass actions. Rather, it was the official line promoted by the technical and military leadership, forcing the Government to generate mass diffusion strategies. The posters produced by Durand in collaboration with SINAMOS (a public institution created to channel independent social organisations without links to the government) were heavily distributed among Andean and peasant communities. The artist subverted and resignified North American pop art in order to produce a vernacular, Andean 'pop' with reminiscences of myth. 

Jesús Ruiz Durand, Cuatro afiches de difusión de la Reforma Agraria (Four propaganda posters for the Agrarian Reform), 1969-1972, Courtesy: Museo de Arte de Lima Collection, Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee 2007

Alfredo Márquez, Chinachola, 2006 (1988-89), Courtesy: Museo de Arte de Lima, Collection Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee 2007. In 1989, Taller NN (a name taken from the initials used to label the corpses of unidentified persons) was invited to the 3rd Art and Architecture Biennial of Havana, where the group produced a screen print showing the face of Mao Zedong superimposed with a photograph of prisoners of the subversive group the Shining path caught by the army, and with the slogan: “Viva el Maoismo” (Long live to Maoism!). 

In 1994, one of the Taller NN artists, who had authored this print (Alfredo Márquez), was kidnapped, arrested and tried by faceless judges during the dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori. Accused of ‘defence of terrorism’, virtually the whole series of the edition was destroyed. 

Taller E.P.S. Huayco, Cojudos (Assholes), 1980. Courtesy: Museo de Arte de Lima Collection. In 1980, Taller E.P.S. Huayco reused the image of leftist poet César Vallejo to produce a series of screen prints and stickers. The phrase placed over the poet’s head – “COJUDOS” (“Assholes”) – seems to attempt to reactivate the political aspect of his writing, in contrast with the official image that had involuntarily transformed him into the paradigm of the 'melancholic poet'.


The origin of graphic design in in Venezuela can be traced back to the first newspaper that was published in 1808. Gerd Leufert (1914-1998), born in Klaipeda, Lithuania, is considered the father Venezuelan graphic design. He was also a printmaker, draftsman, photographer, painter, art teacher, and museum curator. His strong interest in printmaking and draftsmanship led to the founding of the Department of Modern Prints and Drawings at the Caracas Museum of Fine Arts and the establishment of the Art Graphic Workshop, also in Caracas, two initiatives that played an important role in the constitution of modern graphic art in Venezuela. He studied at the High School of Design in Hannover, at the School of Arts and Crafts in Mainz and at the kademie der Bildenden Künste München. He moved to Venezuela in 1951. 

In 1957 he was art director of the magazine El Farol, and in the following year he taught composition in the Faculty of Architecture and Cit. y Planning in the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, and graphic design in the Escuela de Artes Plsticas Cristbal Rojas, of Caracas, becoming director of its graphic arts department. He also taught graphic design in the USA at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and at the Pratt Institute, New York. On his return to Caracas in 1959, he became a curator at the Museo de Bellas Artes and artistic director of its magazine Visual. With M. F. Nedo, Leufert did much to revive the graphic arts in Venezuela, producing a series of prints in collaboration with Nedo and Alvaro Sotillo as a symbol of this revival. Leufert's best-known work includes Marks, a fusion of writing and graphic design, and Funeral Songs, monochrome works of heroic proportions in which sculpture, painting and graphic design are blended.

Drypoint, plate, Gerd Leufert, 1960

Logo Instituto de Diseño Neumann, Gerd Leufert, 1968

 la planificación, Ink,
Gerd Leufert,

Nuevas Nanias exhibition, 1985 Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas

Poster for Teatro Estable de Markay, Gerd Leufert, 1967

Nedo, M.F. (Mion Ferrario) was born in Milan, Italy in 1926. He is considered a pioneer of graphic design in Venezuela. He was a prolific designer, skilled watercolorist and illustrator. Much of his life was dedicated to the design and teaching. He designed sixty typefaces for use on posters, brochures and logos, some of them within the family called Impossible. His passion for impossible shapes and making geometric optical illusions are the main characteristics of his work. Much of his training came fromfrom his father, Emilio Mion Vianello, who was a carver, a lineage profession in Italy. 

Emilio was educated at the Brera Academy in Milan. Nedo, M. F. studied in the Commercial and Technical Institute of Milan between 1936 and 1940 and the Academy of Fine Arts in the same city. Encouraged by Venezuelan immigration policy, he migrated and arrived in Caracas in 1950. One of his first commissions in Venezuela was a series of illustrations for “La Esfera” the supplement to "El País", a newspaper. As well he designed many emblems, logos, magazines, catalogs, posters and advertising campaigns for various Venezuelan and foreign brands.

In 1959 he assumed the artistic direction of the la revista el Farol, a publication for which he had previously done some work. Together with Gerd Leufert and Carlos Cruz Diez They established the applied arts section of the School of Visual Arts Cristobal Rojas, where afterwards, he founded department of Design, where he became a professor for 27 years.

El Farol 243, cover,
Nedo M.F.

Impresión serigráfica, Nedo M.F., 1966.

Emblem:   Postal Telegráfico Institute, Nedo M.F., 1979

Emblem: Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas, 1974

Jorge Montero, a graphic designer, illustrator, visual artist and educator has studied for Master of Art and Master in Fine Art at the University of Iowa, majored in Graphic Design and Drawing. Montero has worked as a free-lance graphic designer and illustrator in Venezuela and the USA for advertising agencies, publishers and corporations. 

He also has worked as an editorial cartoonist in Venezuela and the USA. He has taught at Savannah College of Art & Design (USA)and as a guest lecturer in Germany, South Africa, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, El Salvador, PuertoRico and the USA.

Our Economy is growing, Jorge Montero, Poster

Genaro DeSia Coppola was born in Venezuela  and then moved to work  in Barcelona, Spain.  He is a hailed  as a superb vector art and Flash artist. Taking inspiration from pop art symbols, cult icons and heroes, Genaro’s colorful and tasetful  artworks are appealing in the vulgarity dominated cyberspace.

Under Cover, Genaro Desia Coppola, Digital Art

Punk iT, Genaro Desia Coppola, Digital Art

Tiburón Club, Genaro Desia Coppola


Nearly two hundred years before the famous Gutenberg Bible was printed in Argentina, the Mexico City archbishop, Juan de Zumarraga had a printing press brought from Europe in 1539. The press was set up in the “Casa de las Campanas” (House of the Bells) by the Seville-based publisher Juan Cromberger with Italian printer Juan Pablos who worked for living expenses for ten years. They began printing viceregal- and Church-related documents. One of these documents was a catechism entitled “The Brief and Most Concise Christian Doctrine in the Mexican Language” written by the archbishop himself. 

 In 1816 during the Mexican revolution for independence, José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi wrote El Periquillo Sarniento or The Mangy Parrot, a novel concerned with custom and everyday life, in a genre of writing called costumbrismo, dealing with virtue and vice; a commitment to utility or usefulness as measured by a constant preoccupation with being productive, finding a trade, and not ending up a burden to society by becoming yet another letrado (lawyer); and the admonition that people be judged by their acts and deeds, that is to say, by their internal qualities rather than by external signs or trappings such as clothes or manners, their social status or position. 

El Periquillo became so popular that was reprinted many times from the 1820s, to the 1840s, incorporating at first engravings, and later the lithograph. Cuostumbrismo was one of the most important genres for integrating text and image,for reinforcing visually the romanticism, nationalism, and morality in which lithograph artists graphically interpreted the action and event of the novel, especially those critical moments in the book having to do with fights between men and the fainting of women, along with the duels, dinners, and dangers.

A form of visual national imagining that came to prominence in the first half of the nineteenth century, lithography developed in the 1840s, reaching its most compelling expression in El Museo Mexicano, a literary magazine published by Ignacio Cumplido and directed by Manuel Payno and Guillermo Prieto. Artists illustrated tradespeople, servants, street vendors, and other figures that had been elaborated in various artistic forms during the colonial period, or were the subject of travelers’ accounts, or both. This led to the publication, in installments beginning in 1854, of Los mexicanos pintados por sí mismos, an illustrated and textual portrait of many different characters like “El Aguador,” (“The Watercarrier”) a fixture of life in Mexico City at that time, and also featuring “La China,” a female figure whose manner of dress would evolve into the symbol of Mexico itself.

La chiera, a Mexican seller of "agua de chia" , by H. Iriarte, from Los Mexicanos pintados por si mismos, por varios autores.  Originally issued in parts 1854-1855,

Frontispiece, Anonymous. Lithograph. Vicente Riva Palacio, ed., México a través de los siglos…, vol. 1 (Barcelona, 1888–1889).

Atlas title page, Genaro Lopéz. Lithograph. Alfredo Chavero, Antigüedades mexicanas (Mexico City, 1892).

Fruits of Labor, 1932, Diego Rivera (1886–1957), Lithograph

Diego Rivera (1886-1957), Mexico's most famous painter, rebelled against the traditional school of painting and developed his own style, a combination of historical, social, and critical ideas depicting the cultural evolution of Mexico in a graphic design style. Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato State, on December 8, 1886. He studied painting at the National School of Fine Arts, Mexico City, under Andrés Ríos (1897), Félix Para, Santiago Rebull, and José María Velasco (1899-1901). 

In 1907 Rivera received a grant to study in Europe and lived there until 1921. He first worked in the studio of Eduardo Chicharro in Madrid and in 1909 settled in Paris. He was influenced by the impressionists, particularly Pierre Auguste Renoir. Rivera then worked in a postimpressionist style, inspired by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, and Amedeo Modigliani. The series of works Rivera produced between 1913 and 1917 are in the cubist idiom, for example, Jacques Lipchitz (Portrait of a Young Man; 1914). Some of them have Mexican themes, such as the Guerrillero (1915). By 1918 he was producing pencil sketches of the highest quality, exemplified in his self-portrait. Before returning to Mexico he traveled through Italy. 

Rivera's first mural, the Creation (1922), in the Bolívar Amphitheater at the University of Mexico, painted in encaustic, was the first important mural of the century. From the beginning he sought for, and achieved, a free and modern expression which would be at the same time understandable. He had an enormous talent for structuring his works and a great hand for color, but his two most pronounced characteristics were intellectual inventiveness and refined sensuality. His first mural was an allegory in a philosophical sense. 

In his later works he developed various historical, social, and critical themes in which the history and the life of the Mexican people appear as an epic and as a specific example of universal ideas. Rivera next executed frescoes in the Ministry of Education Building, Mexico City (1923-1926). The frescoes in the Auditorium of the National School of Agriculture, Chapingo (1927), are considered his masterpiece.

Vendedora de Flores, 1949, Oil on masonite, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

Las Ilusiones, 1944, Oil on canvas, Museu de Arte São Paulo. Sãoo Paulo. Brazil

An internationally recognized artist and a central figure in the Mexican mural movement, Rivera created a highly personal style by blending Renaissance and modernist techniques with his interest in indigenous Mexican art forms and commitment to Marxist ideology. While his legacy undoubtedly rests on his monumental projects, his sizeable body of easel paintings and prints reached a far broader audience.

This poignant evocation of the toils and rewards of agricultural life was produced when the Mexican agrarian reform was unfolding with full force in the 1920s and '30s. The iconic composition focuses attention on the dignity of the workers and their children with a quiet, mystical grandeur of expression.

Profile of an Indian Woman with Lilacs, 1938, Charcoal and pastel., Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin

Agrarian Leader Zapata, 1931, Fresco, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita, 1931, Encaustic on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Jos Guadalupe Posada was born in Aguascalientes,  in 1852.  The son of an illiterate baker, he received early training in drawing and as a teenager apprenticed to lithographer Jose Trinidad Pedroza. In Pedroza’s print shop he did commercial work and made lithographic caricatures of local political figures. He moved to Leon in 1872 where he taught lithography in high school and produced illustrations for books and periodicals.  In the meantime he gained greater recognition as an illustrator. Around 1888 he moved to Mexico City to capitalize on his growing reputation.

El pequeño adivinadorcito, 67 adivinanzas No. 5 (the little fortune-teller, 67 riddles) by José Guadalupe Posada. Chapbook cover shows five boys standing in a circle, one has bare feet and is wearing a top hat and tails. The chapbook contains 67 riddles with the answers on the last page. Natural ground wood paper, relief cut, with text in letterpress, editor Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, Mexico, D.F., between 1890 and 1913.

Posada's era was a time before the appearance of radio and television, when there were only a few costly books and newspapers available, and the populous were mostly illiterate. The broadside was street literature which first emerged in Europe in the sixteenth century following the development of the printing press in the West. Printed handbills on any topic of current interest, often accompanied by illustrations, were produced and sold for a penny or two. They came in various formats and sizes but all were printed on one side of an unfolded paper, a broadside, or on both sides, a broadsheet. 

Once in Mexico City Pedroza’s methods and style changed. He began to produce relief prints, engraving and etchings, and his famous broadsides. Relief prints come in a variety of forms but the basic idea is to create a picture on some media (wood, linoleum, metal) and cut away the part which is not to be printed. The relief, standing out, is coated with ink and paper is pressed on it. In an engraving or etching the picture is scratched or etched with acid in the block, ink is spread on the surface and into the lines cut into the surface of the block, and when the ink is wiped off of the block it stays in the engraved lines. Then the printing process takes place.

A los padres y madres de famila, Jos Guadalupe Posada. In 1921 the young French artist Jean Charlot, then working as a muralist in Mexico City, encountered the broadsides of Posada. Posada had been dead since 1913, and though his prints and broadsides were familiar to many Mexicans, Posada as a person was largely forgotten. Charlot's pioneering article on Posada published in 1925 in Revista de Revistas brought Posada to the attention of the art world. Charlot's enthusiasm for Posada remained with him during the course of a long and productive life, and resulted in the assembly of an extensive personal collection of Posada's art.

Jose Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and studied art at the San Carlos Academy for Fine Arts in Mexico City. He lost his right hand and partial sight in one of his eyes during an school experiment. He was politically active throughout the Mexican revolution and witnessed its horrors first hand. He turned a political cartoonist, publishing most of his work in local newspaper, and was greatly influenced by Jose Posada. Orozco could be considered the most complex of the Mexican muralists. He was dedicated to depictinMarxg the truth and had a greater sense of realism that Diego Rivera. This is illustrated by his violent displays of conflict and chaos and misery. 

He realized the enormous gap between social ideals and social realities. He focused on showing personal suffering in a pessimistic, skeptical, yet sympathetic way. Prometheus was painted at Pomona College in California. This was his first mural in the United States. It illustrates Orozco's belief that all the events of history are in a never ending circular sequence. One of the most influential Mexican muralists of his time, Orozco was also a remarkable draftsman, making hundreds of drawings for his mural projects and printed works.

Rear Guard, José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949), Lithograph 1929.

 Although Orozco executed only about fifty lithographs and etchings in total, they are a powerful evidence of his unique aesthetic sensibility. His expressive compositions, like this one inspired by a vignette from his 1926 mural at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City, are characterized by their sharp lines, oblique angles, and expressive play of light and dark tones.

Zapatistas, Jose Clemente Orozco, 1931

Zapata, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1975), Lithograph
Along with Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, Siqueiros was one of the most important artists in the Mexican mural movement and one of Mexico's key political figures. With its bold tonal contrasts, this print offers a posthumous representation of Emiliano Zapata (1879–1919), the revolutionary leader of Indian ancestry and champion of agrarian reform who fought in the Mexican revolution from 1911 to 1917.

Leopoldo Méndez (1902-1969) was a printmaker, painter muralist. Like Posada, he is known primarily for his politically charged prints depicting the horrors of war, struggles of laborers & parodies of capitalist greed fascism. He helped found the long-lived Tallerde Gráfica Popular (TGP) in 1937.

A portrait of Posada in his shop, by Leopoldo Méndez

Paremos la Agresion a la Clase Obrera. Ayude Usted. A los Huelguistas de Palau, Nueva Rosita y Cloete. (Let us Stop the Aggression toward the Working Class. Help the Strikers of Palau, Nueva Rosita, and Cloete),  Leopoldo Méndez, 1950. Méndez created the print in 1950 as a street poster calling for solidarity with mine workers in their strike against the U.S. owned company, Mexican Zinc Co.

W. Randolph Hearst (1947-1974),by Leopoldo Méndez, Woodcut on paper,

William Randolph Hearst, the world's largest newspaper and magazine conglomerate at one time, was a controversial figure, who is depicted here with a chess board and several pawns. Two figures on either side of Hearst are seen whispering into his ear. The unmistakable United States dollar signs leave little doubt that Hearst is being advised on a financial matter. At the end of the Mexican Revolution, Hearst went to Mexico City to meet with Alvaro Obregón, the president of Mexico. It was rumored in the New York Times that Hearst would start a Mexican newspaper if he could retain the titles to land he owned in that country. 

Méndez's depiction relates more to the controversy surrounding Hearst and his supply of arms to Mexican counterrevolutionaries. The Bureau of Investigation investigated these acts but found no concrete evidence. The chess pawns Hearst pushes away resemble Emiliano Zapata and a Mexican peasant, as indicated by the hat in the small man's hands as if begging for alms. The figure he props up with his left hand is probably General Victoriano Huerta, a supporter of Porfirio Díaz; the very dictator the Mexican Revolution sought to defeat.

In The Name Of Christ: They Have Assassinated More Than 200 Teachers (En Nombre De Cristo: Han Asesinado Más De 200 Maestros), Leopoldo Méndez, Lithograph,1939.

In the counter-revolutionary “Cristero War” of 1926-1929, the fundamentalist Cristeros (“fighters for Christ”) launched an armed rebellion against the Mexican government because of the anti-clerical Mexican Constitution of 1917. In 1939 the administration of Presidente Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940), commissioned Méndez to create a portfolio of seven lithographic prints on the subject of educators who had been murdered by Catholic fundamentalists during the Cristero uprising. 

The resulting lithographs commemorated seven different teachers who had been brutally slain by religious zealots, depicting the teachers under threat, in the throes of death, or after they had been assassinated. In the lithograph shown above, Méndez portrayed the gruesome killing of Professor Ramón Orta del Río in Nayarit, one of Mexico’s 31 states. The killers doused the body of their victim in gas and set him on fire.

The strike of 50,000 Honduran workers exploited for more than 50 years by the monopoly of the United Fruit Co., is a just cause." - Alberto Beltrán. Linoleum block print. 1955.

Beltrán’s original linoleum-block print was reproduced as a poster expressing solidarity with striking workers in Honduras. Since the early 1900s U.S. companies totally controlled Honduran agricultural production and exports, largely based upon the cultivation of bananas, making Honduras the original “Banana Republic.” The Standard Fruit Company and the United Fruit Company – both U.S. businesses – virtually ran the country. 

It was the president of United Fruit, Sam Zemurray, who infamously said of Honduran officials; “A mule costs more than a deputy.” From 1903 to 1925, the U.S. Marines intervened in Honduras no less than seven times. After decades of ferocious exploitation by U.S. commercial interests, Honduran banana workers staged a historic strike for better working conditions and higher pay that began on May 1, 1954.

Picador, Julio Ruelas, Color paper and silk cutout. c1900

Julio Ruelas (1870-1907) was a painter of cadavers, hanged satyrs, bewitching maidens, sudden epiphanies and lovers' suicides. He was (and remains) the foremost Mexican Symbolist, close to Odilon Redon or Gustave Moreau in his appetite for hallucinatory scenarios. For Jose Clemente Orozco, as for many others, Ruelas was the touchstone influence, and he was an important participant in the burgeoning arts of his day: he was the principal illustrator for the Revista Moderna, a magazine not dissimilar to the Yellow Book that published excellent Spanish translations of Novalis, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire, as well as the poetry of Ruben Dario. 

Based on the centenary exhibition of the same name at the National Art Museum in Mexico City, The Lugubrious Traveler restores Ruelas to his rightful prominence. Detailed and authoritative texts by three of Mexico's most respected critics--Teresa del Conde, Carlos Monsivais and Antonio Saborit--explore the many facets of this curious artist, from his fauns, wraiths and succubae to his deeper and still disquieting trawling of the fin-de-siecle subconscious.

Sókrates, Julio Ruelas, 1902

Alejandro Magallanes Gonzalez was born in Mexico City in 1971. He studied at the National School of Plastic Arts (UNAM). Magallanes has created the visual design for the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City and cultural publications of the Universidad Panamericana. His work has been published in various international journals of graphic design, in countries such as France, Iran and Spain. His posters have been exhibited in Poland, Japan, Argentina, China, Netherlands, Czech Republic, France and Russia, among others. Magallanes has received numerous awards, which include Jozef Mozrack Medal, the Golden Bee, the bronze medal at the 4th biennial Icograda Block and medal at the International Poster Biennale in Mexico. 

A member of Alliance Graphique International (AGI) and the collective El Cartel de Medellín. Over the recent years Magallanes has created posters for philosophical Book Fair, organized by the UNAM Institute of Philosophical Research, and has ensured a certain continuity within its perspective. In this case there are two series: the first deals with gods and mythological characters and the second with philosophers. The posters are printed by combining metallic inks and spot colors. 

Minotauro, Alejandro  Magallanes Gonzalez, Poster for the Second philosophical Book Fair, organized by the UNAM Institute of Philosophical Research, n.d.

Hércules, Alejandro  Magallanes Gonzalez, Poster for the Third philosophical Book Fair, organized by the UNAM Institute of Philosophical Research, 2006

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Alejandro Magallanes Gonzalez, Poster for the Fifth philosophical Book Fair, organized by the UNAM Institute of Philosophical Research, 2008

Karl Marx, Alejandro Magallanes Gonzalez, Poster for the Sixth philosophical Book Fair, organized by the UNAM Institute of Philosophical Research, 2011

Lourdes Zolezzi was born in 1972 in Mexico City. She enrolled in Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, in Mexico City in 1993, and was grauated as a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Communication Design, in 1997 . She attended a number of seminars such as: "One Color Poster", presented by Mieczyslaw Wasilewski of Poland, "Poster Design", and "The Typographical Poster" both presented by Gianni Bortolotti, in his Studio in Bologna, Italy, 1999. she has exhibited in many countries and has won a number of prestigious awards.

Cinco caminos a la danza / Five paths to the dance, Season of dance and popular concerts, Lourdes Zolezzi, 1999

Solistas y bien acompanados / Soloists and well accompanied, Season of dance and popular concerts, Lourdes Zolezzi, 1999

Dia internacional de la danza / International day of dance, National Center for the Arts (CENART), Mexico City, Lourdes Zolezzi, 2001.

Eduardo Barrera Arambarri was born in Mexico City in 1974, where he currently lives and works. He studied graphic design at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He attended workshops by Uwe Loesch, Takashi Akiyama, Marna Bunnell, Peter Pocs and Manuel Marin, among others. Barrera has created designs for several cultural projects including Trama Visual AC; Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes; and Conaculta and Instituto de Cultura de Yucután, Mexico F.D. 

 In advertising, he has worked with Leo Burnett in México, Magic Moments in Austria and Eveun Boutique Criativa. Working as a freelance designer since 2001, Barrera has developed corporate and institutional images, typographic fonts, posters, editorial designs, packages, web pages, motion graphics and multimedia presentations. His poster work has represented Mexico in official selections for contests, biennales and collective exhibitions in eighteen countries. He has received awards at the Bienal Internacional del Cartel, Mexico (2000) and the 4th Block Triennial of Eco-Posters, in Kharkov, Ukraine (2006). His publication Ergo Sum, developed with artist Erick Beltrán for the Fundação Tápies in Barcelona, won the first prize at the Bro Biennale of Graphic Design in 2008, in the Czech Republic.

Racism, Eduardo Barrera Arambarri, 2011

Chernobyl, Eduardo Barrera Arambarri, 2008

Corre Conejo!! (rabbit run!!), Eduardo Barrera Arambarri, n.d. 

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