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Essential Photography From Mexico for Cinco de Mayo (NSFW)

As we celebrate Mexican heritage on this Cindo de Mayo, let’s survey this season’s key photography exhibit: Photography in Mexico: Selected Works from the Collections of SFMOMA and Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, on view through July 8. The wide and engaging selection of 150 works from 1920s to the present includes both important Mexican photographers and inspired international artists.

“There is no one ‘Mexican photography,’ but one strand that runs throughout is a synthesis of aesthetics and politics,” curator Jessica McDonalds explains. “We see that with Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and we still see it in work made decades later.” From Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s definitive, surrealistic work in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution,  through the mid-20th-century photojournalist documentation of Mexican life and the changing urban politics and culture in the ’60s and ’70s, including the emergence of critical theory and art photography, to the present day and meditations on the current issues particular to the U.S.-Mexico border region, this strand holds strong. Check out the slideshow of works from the exhibit, from Lourdes Grobet’s ’80s luchadores in full glory, to Graciela Iturbide’s Oaxacan woman with a crown of taxidermied iguanas, to Oscar Fernando Gómez’s contemporary series from the window of his cab.


Lourdes Grobet, Ponzoña, Arena Coliseo, ca. 1983; gelatin silver print; 14 x 11 in.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, gift of Jane and Larry Reed; © Lourdes Grobet

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