Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Holy Trinity

The Diamondbacks were playing in Atlanta today so the game started and ended fairly early, so having the afternoon free, I walked over to the Phoenix Art Museum. That's right I walked the half mile or so in 106ยบ heat, up hill, both ways. No one has ever accused me of being the smartest guy in the room.

Anyway the museum is hosting a collection of Mexican print making from the early part of the last century. The first thing that struck me is how people have been using available technology for economic benefit (in this case to create faster copies of their art to sell) or to spread political or social messages long before the age of the electronic technologies of radio, television or the internet.

This exhibit focuses on the period immediately after the Mexican revolution (approximately 1920) through the 1950's; and includes 150 lithographs, etchings and woodcuts (if you don't know the difference between those types of printmaking techniques, don't feel bad, neither did I) and 40 artist among them Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and the artist fast becoming a personal favorite of mine, Jose Clemente Orozco. I heard a Mexician tour guide once refer to Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco as "The Holy Trinity", in essence, the three greatest Mexican muralist. Having seen some of their murals, I don't doubt that divine intervention played a role in their work.

Orozco was born near Guadalajara and had painted murals in several of the government buildings there. When I traveled there earlier this year I photographed several of his murals, the pictures don't do him justice, the murals are very moving when viewed in person.

I discovered another really interesting artist by the name of Howard Cook, while I was at the Museum today. Cook was an American but traveled to Mexico in the early 1930s on a grant from the Smithsonian. Today, I saw several interesting lithographs that he made while staying in Taxco, Mexico. Cook eventual settled in Taos, NM for a while and then moved to Roswell, NM. Since my work sometimes takes me to this part of the world I might do some further research on him.

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