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"Images of the Spirit: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide, Mexican Folk Masks from the Permanent Collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York"
2000-11-19 until 2001-01-07
Parrish Art Museum
Southampton, NY, USA United States of America

Images of the Spirit: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, gives U.S. audiences the first comprehensive look at one of the most important and celebrated photographers working in Mexico today. Born in Mexico City in 1942, Iturbide has brought a deeply personal and poetic vision to the Mexican artistic tradition of exploring issues of identity, diversity and selfhood. The exhibition includes 100 works that spans the artist's career.

Iturbide's work was influenced by two of the best-known earlier photographers of Mexico: Tina Modotti, recognized as one of the first socially concerned photographers, and Modotti's friend Manuel Alvarez Bravo, who began to photograph in Mexico City after Modotti was forced into exile in 1930. Iturbide, who initially studied filmmaking, worked as Alvarez Bravo's assistant in the early 1970s and began to devote her time and talent to still photography. She traveled to Europe and met Henri Cartier-Bresson, who became another influence on her work, and then returned in 1978 to become a founding member of the Mexican Council of Photography. Like Modotti before her, Graciela lturbide became particularly interested in documenting indigenous groups and in the turbulent events-political reforms, violent demonstrations, and students and intellectual uprisings-that surrounded her. Her first epic project was a study of the Seri Indians of Northern Mexico, which was published in 1981. An exploration of the diversity of Hispanic cultures found in both Spain and the Americas culminated in the exhibition Old World/New World in 1991. Since the late 1970s, Iturbide has been documenting the Zapotec Indian people of Juchitan in their daily and ceremonial activities.

A selection of Mexican Masks from the collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York, has been specially chosen to accompany the Iturbide exhibition. Mexico has an unbroken tradition of mask-making reaching back more than three thousand years, when masks were used in pre-Columbian ritual, and survives today in villages of Mexico where dance is an important part of every festival. This exhibition marks the first collaborative venture between The Parrish and El Museo, which was founded in 1969 by a group of Puerto Rican educators, artists and community activists who envisioned an educational institution that would reflect the richness of their culture. El Museo is the only museum in New York city dedicated to Latin American and Latino art, and retains its strong community roots as a place of cultural pride and self-discovery.

Our Lady of the Iguanas, 1979
Graciela Iturbide
Gelatin silver print
21 x 16 7/8

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