The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia presents the exhibition “El Taller de Gráfica Popular: Vida y Arte” Consisting of approximately 250 works of Mexican sociopolitical art created by El Taller de Gráfica Popular (the Workshop for Popular Graphics, or TGP for short), the exhibition comes from a single collection but is wide-ranging and thorough in its coverage. It takes over the entire temporary exhibition wing of the museum’s building and is the most comprehensive in the world on the workshop since the 1950s. The museum has also published a catalogue reproducing every work in the exhibition, plus many supplementary images, the largest and best illustrated such book on the workshop in any language.
Founded in 1937 by Raúl Anguiano, Luis Arenal, Leopoldo Méndez and Pablo O’Higgins, the TGP included many notable 20th-century Mexican printmakers and a few important members from outside the country, including Elizabeth Catlett (an American) and Fanny Rabel (born in Poland). They produced large-scale posters (carteles), flyers (volantes), books, pamphlets, fine art portfolios, calavera newspapers and independent prints, all with the idea that art could serve as a tool, even a weapon. They fought for social change and against fascist aggression at home and abroad by informing and inspiring the Mexican people and like-minded organizations around the globe.
Michael Ricker, from whose collection the works come, said in a press statement, “Founded in 1937, El Taller de Gráfica Popular was perhaps the most prominent, prolific and political workshop in world history. From the expropriation of foreign oil interests and the support and protection of rural teachers to strong anti-fascist efforts and the promotion of civil rights, they addressed all the prominent issues of their day. For decades, the workshop poured out a relentless stream of posters, flyers, portfolios, prints, hilarious Day of the Dead newspapers, fine books and simple pamphlets. The workshop’s membership included many of Mexico’s finest and best-recognized artists. While virtually all were printmakers, they were also muralists, painters, sculptors and draftsmen. They were not los Tres Grandes (the Big Three [muralists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siquieros and José Clemente Orozco]), they were los otros (the others), los trabajadores (the workers), working for what they believed and placing their nation and its people before themselves.”
The Georgia Museum of Art Website