Graciela Iturbide: The Goat’s Dance
Getty Center, Los Angeles
Through April 13
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Graciela Iturbide’s photographs juxtapose the contemporary with the timeless, said Lynell George in the Los Angeles Times. In one, a Mexican woman in silhouette, “dressed in what appears to be a traditional costume, descends a hill into a spreading valley, improbably carrying a boombox.” In another, a young man shows off a back-filling tattoo of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Mixteca women in Oaxaca slaughter goats, and young girls in East L.A. “throw gang signs” in front of a mural of famous Mexican revolutionaries Benito JuÃ¡rez, Emiliano Zapata, and Pancho Villa. “For more than 30 years, Iturbide has been working the realms of dust, sweat, concrete, chain-link, and bleaching sun,” capturing everyday moments in the lives of her people on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border. “Her work reflects an amalgam of influences—there are echoes of Mexican printmakers and muralists and a slithery sense of surrealism.” But almost every photograph contains a prominent element of surprise.
In Mexico, of course, there are endless opportunities to “take pictures of the outrageous and bizarre,” said Hunter Drohojowska-Philp in Artnet.com. Yet Iturbide combines “formal elegance with an eye for subjects” on the borders
of society, particularly Indian communities in Mexico and Mexican communities within the United States. “Her photographs have a steely edge, yet she also evinces compassion for subjects,” and she never descends into cliché or condescends. In this sense, her pictures closely resemble those by famed Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, under whose tutelage she began working in 1970. Where Bravo is well known, however, this exhibition is the “first survey in this country” dedicated to Iturbide. Judging from the works on view, she should soon be much better known.
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