March 3, 2020

POSTED BY

Jose Fresan

CATEGORY

Art for The People! Taller de Gráfica Popular, 1937

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1937, the world is at the brink of it’s biggest War. Fascism, leftism and capitalism are the moving and opposing forces in the world. Mexico City, even being away from the epicenter of the conflict, was not spared of the clash of these forces. Caught in the middle of a …

1937, the world is at the brink of it’s biggest War. Fascism, leftism and capitalism are the moving and opposing forces in the world. Mexico City, even being away from the epicenter of the conflict, was not spared of the clash of these forces. Caught in the middle of a revolting world, artists Leopoldo Méndez, Luis Arenal, and Pablo O’Higgins, created the Taller de Gráfica Popular as direct response to the political movements happening around them.

Taller de Gráfica Popular took the iconic style of the Mexican Revolution and Jose Guadalupe Posada’s prints and created dozens of print pieces for groups spanning the leftist and progressive political spectrum, the government of Lázaro Cárdenas and his successors, the Mexican Communist Party, major trade unions, and antifascist organizations.

The Taller mainly worked with linoleum and woodcuts, and produced posters, handbills, and portfolio editions. They mostly depicted revolutionary social causes and class struggle, with a socialist approach that would sometimes turn radical. In 1940, muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros used the Taller‘s print shop as a headquarters to an armed assault on the residence of exiled Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky with the help of some artists affiliated to The Taller.

The legacy of Taller de Gráfica Popular stands in Mexican and world culture as an example of design and art in the service of social movements, and classes. “Art for the People” was one of the Taller’s mottos and it has had a great impact on different movements around the world, more profoundly on the movements of 1968, having a huge influence over the artists of Atelier Populaire.

Taller de Gráfica Popular is still active and you can visit its headquarters at Dr. M. Villada 46, Doctores. Mexico City.