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Artes de Mexico’s Mexico Then & Now

To the list of City Weekly’s 2012 Artys awards (see here), we thought of adding an additional category: best use of captive audiences. The winner would go to Artes de Mexico, whose Viva Frida exhibit in the atrium of Salt Lake’s Main Library last year caught the eye of thousands of people passing through what is one of Utah’s favorite buildings. Granted, they were “passing,” so not really captive, but the point is that Artes de Mexico found a great way to get their exhibit out in front of people who normally wouldn’t track it down.

Artes de Mexico has returned to the Atrium (as well as other locales) with another exhibit: Mexico Then & Now. The core of the exhibit is a collection of 92 photographs from the Casasola Archive in the National Institute of Anthropology and History in México. Born in 1874, Agustin Victor Casasola was one of Mexico’s leading press photographers during Mexico’s revolutionary times. The archive that bears his name and which he established, includes his photographs as well as the archives of the defunct newspaper El Imparcial, and includes hundreds of thousands of pictures from the forty year period when modern Mexico came into being.

The 92 photographs on exhibit, selected by Mexican photographer Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, offer a wide range of Mexican culture and history. Leading figures of the revolutionary period, like Porfirio Diaz, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata are depicted, but so are Mexicans from a variety of social backgrounds: circus performers and chorus girls, men and boys at a public pool, young drinkers outside a train on the outskirts of Mexico City, and even the Orchestra of the National School for the Blind. Casasola himself appears, interviewing Amado Nervo, a modernist poet who also became an ambassador.

Pass through the library’s atrium and you won’t miss the banners for the exhibit. But don’t be fooled, this is only an introduction. The photographs themselves are downstairs, as well as at Brigham Young University, The State Fairpark, Mestizo Institute of Culture & Art, the University of Utah Marriott Library, and the Utah Pride Center. A companion exhibit, Mi México/My Mexico, of photographs by local photographers on Mexican today and México in Utah is on display at the Salt Lake City City & County Building.

The exhibit is up through October 3. For more information, visit http://www.artesdemexicoenutah.org

This Friday, September 21 at the SLC Main Library Auditorium scholars from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah will be discussing the Mexican Revolution.
5 PM: A screening of The Storm that Swept Mexico, PBS, 2011 will provide a basic understanding of the Mexican Revolution.

7 PM: Presentations and Discussions
Susie Porter, PhD, Associate Professor of History/Latin American History, U of U, on “Mexican Revolution 101: the Mexican Revolution through the Lens of Casasola”

Allen Christensen, PhD, Professor, Humanities, Classics and Comparative Literature, BYU, on the visual art of the Mexican Revolution

Angela Espinosa, PhD, Assistant Professor, Languages and Literature, U of U, on the music, dance, and literature of the Revolution


Moderator: Maria del Mar Gonzalez, PhD candidate, Raymond C. Morales Post-Doctoral Fellow, Art/Art History, U of U

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