Book Review: Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico
Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico was published in early 2019 to accompany the first major museum exhibition of Iturbide’s work on the East Coast…
Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico was published in early 2019 to accompany the first major museum exhibition of Iturbide’s work on the East Coast at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This volume presents more than 100 beautifully reproduced black-and-white photographs, accompanied by illuminating essays inviting readers to share in Graciela Iturbide’s personal artistic journey through the country she knows so intimately.
Graciela Iturbide is best known for her iconic photographs of Mexican indigenous women, and she has engaged with her homeland as a subject for the past 50 years. Her work is comprised of images with great variety and depth. The intensely personal, lyrical photographs collected and interpreted in this book show that photography is a way of life for Iturbide — as well as a way of seeing and understanding Mexico, with all its beauties, rituals, challenges and contradictions.
One of the most influential photographers active in Latin America today, and a living master of twentieth century photography, Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide began studying photography in the 1970s with legendary photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Seeking “to explore and articulate the ways in which a vocable such as ‘Mexico’ is meaningful only when understood as an intricate combination of histories and practices,” as she puts it, Iturbide has created a nuanced and sensitive documentary record of contemporary Mexico.
Kristen Gresh, the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh curator of photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, worked closely with Ms. Iturbide in organizing the exhibit. “It has been a pleasure and honor to work closely with Graciela in preparation for the exhibition and on this special acquisition. She has successfully and beautifully brought to the forefront the many untold stories of Mexico’s rich culture and history — from the eyes of an insider.”
This wonderful book of Iturbide’s oeuvre is both a resource and source of inspiration. It is worth obtaining this book and referencing it for years to come. Many images for the exhibition and publication were on loan from major museums around the world, and two photographs were donated by Iturbide to the Museum of Fine Arts — Carro (1969) and ¡México… quiero conocerte! (1975) as a part of the exhibition and project. These images, amongst others, reveal the dichotomy and hybrid nature of Mexico’s rural and urban landscapes. Iturbide’s work includes a number of overlapping themes: indigenous cultures, rites and festivals, workers, death, and birds. The Mexico portrayed here is a country of constant transition, defined by tensions between urban and rural life, and indigenous and modern life. Iturbide’s deep connection with her subjects produces indelible images that encompass dreams, symbols, reality, and daily life.
“We have great conviction that (Iturbide’s) work should be seen in the context of other influential artists such as Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Man Ray, and Margret Bourke-White,” said MFA Boston museum director Matthew Teitelbaum. “Additionally, Iturbide’s strong images will compliment other recent acquisitions and displays of work which explore how cultures intersect and transcend borders.”
Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico
Text by Kristen Gresh. Contributions by Guillermo Sheridan
Published by MFA PUBLICATIONS
Hardcover, 9.75 x 9.25 in. / 240 pgs / 135 bw.
To learn more about Graciela Iturbide and see her work, please visit her website at http://www.gracielaiturbide.org/en/. To purchase the book, and find links to information about the exhibition, please see the website for the Museum of Fine Art, Boston here.
Originally published at F-Stop Magazine.