Posada & the Mexican Penny Press


The Carnegie Arts Center announces the opening of a major exhibition of works by one of Mexico’s most influential artists, José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913). The exhibition, Posada and the Mexican Penny Press, will be on view from September 15-December 30, 2018.Posada, La Catrina, detail

As a printmaker and illustrator, Posada produced an extensive body of imagery, from illustrations for children’s games to sensationalized news stories that appeared in a variety of inexpensive publications marketed to the Mexico’s growing middle- and working-classes. He is best known for his satirical representations of calaveras (skeletons) in lively guises that were featured prominently on the popular broadsides published for the annual Day of the Dead celebrations.

1 - Calavera of Don Quixote - detailPosada spent the most of his life working in Mexico City, gaining a reputation for his inventive and striking designs. Much of his work demonstrates a bold, expressive and quite recognizable style. Originally trained in the elegant European technique of lithography, Posada proved his versatility as he mastered relief prints and etching to meet the needs of his publishers. He combined these printmaking skills with quality draftsmanship, responding to the demands of each type of illustration he was commissioned for.  Although Posada’s total graphic output is difficult to measure, his works likely number in the several thousands.

He died in 1913 and was buried in a pauper’s grave. Although he was little remembered in the years immediately following his death, Posada’s importance in the history of graphic arts in Mexico was recognized in the 1920’s by artist and writer Jean Charlot, who championed him and played a key role in preserving, collecting, and publishing the artist’s work. Posada’s prints shaped generations of Mexican artists, among them the muralists Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco.

This exhibition features a wide range of prints and print media by Posada and his contemporaries, including calaveras, chapbooks, political prints, devotional images, and representations of natural disasters and sensational events.

The exhibition and tour were developed by the Trout Gallery at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.

Admission to the exhibition: $5 general; CAC members and children 12 and under are admitted free.

Hours: Weds. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Fri. 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Sun. noon- 4 p.m.


September 16: Lecture – Jim Nikas, 2 p.m. Free     Director of the Posada Art Foundation, Jim Nikas, will explore the life and legacy of Mexican printmaker and illustrator, José Guadalupe Posada, and his impact on the arts of Mexico in the 20th century.

September 21:  Fundraiser – Tacos & Tequila, 6 – 10 p.m.     Fundraising never tasted so good! Join us for a night of tequila tasting, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. Taco Truck Lager, margaritas, tacos, maker’s tables & more to celebrate the exhibition, Posada & the Mexican Penny Press!  Tickets available at tacosandtequilatickets.eventbrite.com  General: $60; CAC Members: $50

October 14: Lecture – East of Salinas Film Screening, 2 p.m.  FREE    East of Salinas takes us to the heart of California’s “Steinbeck Country,” the Salinas Valley, to meet a bright boy and his dedicated teacher — both sons of migrant farm workers. With parents who are busy working long hours in the fields, third grader Jose Ansaldo often turns to his teacher, Oscar Ramos, for guidance. But Jose is undocumented; he was born in Mexico. Like many other migrant children, he is beginning to understand the situation — and the opportunities that may be lost to him through no fault of his own.  The screening will be followed by a Q & A with Oscar Ramos.

October 19: Family Friday – Day of the Dead Celebration, 7 p.m.  FREE  With the young dancers from Los Luceros de Osborn, we’ll celebrate this traditional holiday with music, dancing, crafts and treats!

November 13: Concert – Cabanijazz Project Infrasonic, 7:30 p.m.  The Cabanijazz Project, led by Bay Area percussionist, educator and composer Javier Cabanillas, performs music from their recent release Infrasonic!  Admission $10; CAC members $5; Students $5

November 16: Family Friday – Them Bones, 7 p.m.  FREE     Knowledge of anatomy is a useful tool for artists to have.  Join us as we learn about our bones and decorate our own life-size skeletons!

December 13: Film Screening – Searching for Posada- Art & Revolution, 7:30 p.m. FREE  Searching for Posada: Art & Revolution reveals for the first time on film the untold story of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada. Fascinated by Posada’s story, an obsessed American collector of Posada’s works (the largest in the United States) embarks on a passionate search for the truth about the artist, traveling to the Posada’s hometown of Aguascalientes, next to León and then Mexico City; encountering everything from art historians, Fidel Castro’s pajamas, Che Guevera’s backpack and a stop at the famed Arena Lucha Libre along the way.  What he finds would have amazed even the artist Posada himself.

December 14: Family Friday – Holiday Pajama Party: Cookies & “Coco,” 7 p.m. FREE  Join us for our annual Holiday Pajama Party! We’ll enjoy warm cocoa, cookies and popcorn as we watch the Disney/Pixar movie Coco.

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