Exhibition Announcement:

To Serve the People: Prints from Mexico’s Taller de Gráfica Popular

Greensboro — NC (January 23, 2023): The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro announces the exhibition To Serve the People: Prints from Mexico’s Taller de Gráfica Popular, January 21–May 13, 2023.

“In order to serve the people, art must reflect the social reality of the times.“

In 1937, this belief inspired the foundation of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (the People’s Print Workshop) in Mexico City. Committed to the progressive idealism of the Mexican Revolution, artists worked together to create prints, posters, flyers, and other works on paper aimed at educating the widest possible audience about the social issues of their day. Fundamental to their artistic production was a democratic group process of collective critiques and negotiated decision-making.

That commitment to shared learning and leadership has likewise fueled the production of this exhibition. In fall 2022, students in two UNC Greensboro art history courses came together to study the history and output of the Taller de Gráfica Popular, as well as collaboratively curate this exhibition. The layout of artworks in the galleries, the texts presented alongside them, and a supporting timeline of Mexican history were all generated by the students through a process of individual readings and presentations, group discussions and critiques, multiple small-group working sessions, and many rounds of peer editing.

At the heart of the students’ work is an incredible collection of over one hundred TGP prints brought together by Robert Healy, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Policy at Duke University, and recently gifted to the Weatherspoon by him and his wife, Kay Edgar. This transformative gift to the museum’s collection provides rich material for teaching not only in art history but also across such disciplines as economics, geography, history, and sociology, to name just a few.

Juliette Bianco, the Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Endowed Director of the Weatherspoon Art Museum said that this transformational gift “uplifts the museum’s commitment to our students, faculty, and local and regional communities by providing access to works of art that are consequential to the human experience. We are grateful to Healy and Edgar for sharing our vision that an art museum on a university campus within a community can enable deeper and richer dialogue about ideas and issues that matter, and welcome community groups and broader collaborations with the Taller de Gráfica Popular and with the Weatherspoon collection as a whole.”

To further the educational collaboration, this spring, an interdisciplinary faculty working group will gather to think about the different ways in which this collection of prints can support learning in their courses. The group includes scholars of anthropology, art, art history, education, history, music, peace and conflict studies, and Spanish. Together with the Weatherspoon curatorial team, they will share insights and resources as they develop lesson plans for teaching with these artworks in the future. This exciting project is organized by HNAC, UNCG’s Humanities Network and Consortium, and made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the Social Science Research Council.

Organized by the students of ARH490 and Dr. Emily Stamey, curator and head of exhibitions, with the students of ARH219 and Dr. Nicole Scalissi, assistant professor of art history.

Image: Celia Calderón de la Barca, México, dueño de todos sus recursos (Mexico, master of all its resources), after 1952. Linocut on paper, 11 3/4 x 8 5/8 in. Promised gift to the Weatherspoon Art Museum. © Estate of Celia Calderón de la Barca