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News Release — March 31, 2010

¡Viva México!

Celebrating the country in photographs

On exhibit at the Wittliff Collections now through July 31, 2010
Exhibition reception on April 17, 2010

SAN MARCOS, Texas—To honor the bicentennial of Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain and the centennial of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, the Wittliff Collections present ¡Viva México!

This photographic exhibition from the Collections’ permanent holdings at the Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos, opened March 29 and runs through July 31, 2010. Exhibition hours are online.

Curated by Carla Ellard, assistant curator of the photography collection, and co-arranged with Connie Todd, former director/curator, ¡Viva México! will be celebrated along with Bill Wittliff’s photo series Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy on Saturday, April 17 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. There will be a public reception with Wittliff and a special program featuring Todd as the guest speaker. ¡Viva México! and Vaquero are running concurrently—admission to both shows and the April 17 event is free and open to the public.

The more than 100 historical and modern, documentary and art photographs in ¡Viva México! interpret the country and testify to the vitality of vision and strength of subject captured by more than 40 artists who have trained their lenses on Mexico and her people. ¡Viva México! is part of the Texas and Mexico, 1810–2010 Commemoration at Texas State developed in partnership with the Mexican Consulate of Austin.

Among the historical photographs on exhibit related to the Mexican Revolution is one of the most iconic: Generals Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, taken at the Palacio Nacional on December 6, 1914. Behind Zapata’s left shoulder in this photograph from the Casasola Archive is a boy named Leo Reynosa. In 1988, Dennis Darling created a portrait series of veterans of the Mexican Revolution, and one of the men featured is the very same Reynosa. In total, five of Darling’s hand-tinted veteran photographs are on view. Edward Larocque Tinker’s photographs of General Villa and General Álvaro Obregón are also part of the show.

Documentary and fine-art photographs broaden the scope of the show, as do the relationships of the photographers. “There has always been an elaborate and complex brotherhood,” said Todd, “among Mexican artists of many genres: literature, architecture, music, filmmaking, visual art—perhaps none more elaborate than that of the community of photographers. They mentor, they compete, they collaborate, they argue, they support… and so it is fitting that we see the connections between the artists in this exhibition.”

For example, among the highlights are photographs by Hugo Brehme, a recent gift from Susan Toomey Frost. Working in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Brehme is responsible for thousands of pictures of everyday Mexican life that have now become valuable anthropological documents. Mentored by Brehme, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who interpreted the Mexican aesthetic for over 70 years, is also represented with a new acquisition, Maniquíes riendo/Laughing Mannequins. And appropriately, the artist who studied with him and has taken his place as the premier photographer in Mexico, and one of the world’s best—Graciela Iturbide—is in the show. In turn, the works of her acolyte, Maya Goded, are also on view.

“These essential social and artistic connections exist between almost every photographer in the show,” said Todd, “and they lend continuity and strength to the sum of all the works.”

In addition to those listed above, the distinguished list of photographers includes: Lola Álvarez Bravo, Yolanda Andrade, François Aubert, Lázaro Blanco, Debbie Fleming Caffery, Manuel Carrillo, Keith Carter, Henri Cartier-Bresson, John Christian, Marco Antonio Cruz, Faustinus Deraet, Héctor García, Flor Garduño, Guillermo Kahlo, Robb Kendrick, Nacho López, Luis Márquez, Eniac Martínez Ulloa, Francisco Mata Rosas, Tina Modotti / Edward Weston, Rodrigo Moya, Raúl Ortega, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, José Ángel Rodríguez, Josephine Sacabo, Sebastião Salgado, Paul Strand, Ángeles Torrejón, Antonio Turok, Bob Wade, C.B. Waite, Geoff Winningham, Bill Wittliff. and Mariana Yampolsky.

Music adds to the gallery experience: recordings of corridos (ballads) and other songs written during the Mexican Revolution play throughout the ¡Viva México! show.

The Casasola Archive also on exhibit at Texas State

May 19 through June 30, the School of Art & Design at Texas State will host Mexico, the Revolution and Beyond: The Casasola Archive, 1900-1940 in Gallery II of the Mitte Building. This traveling exhibition is sponsored by the Consulate of Mexico in Austin with partial funding from the Texas and Mexico, 1810-2010 Committee at Texas State. The opening reception for this show is May 22 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. All are invited and welcome. For more information contact Gallery Coordinator Mary Mikel Stump at 512.245.2664.

¡Viva México! reception and program with Connie Todd
Saturday, April 17, 7:00 pm
Alkek Library, Seventh Floor | Texas State University-San Marcos | 512.245.2313
Admission is free and open to the public.