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Primary Materials ● El fascismo japonés (Japanese Fascism) by Isidoro Ocampo (lithograph, 1939) ● Profesor Ildefonso Vargas by Leopoldo Méndez (lithograph, 1939) ● Deportación a la muerte (Deportation to Death) by Leopoldo Méndez (linocut print, 1942) ● El libro negro del terror nazi en Europa (The Black Book of Nazi Terror in Europe), edited by Antonio Castro Leal et al. (illustrated book, 1943) ● El río Palizada (Palizada River) by Alfredo Zalce (lithograph, 1945) ● ¡Victoria! (Victory!) by Ángel Bracho (linocut print, 1945) ● La negra Sojourner Truth (The Black Woman Sojourner Truth) by Elizabeth Catlett (linocut print, 1947) ● Pequeña Maestra, qué grande es tu voluntad (Little Schoolteacher, How Great Is Your Force of Will) by Leopoldo Méndez (linocut print, 1947) ● TGP México: El Taller de Gráfica Popular, doce años de obra artística colectiva (TGP Mexico: The Workshop for Popular Graphic Art, a Record of Twelve Years of Collective Work), edited by Hannes Meyer (illustrated book, 1949) A soldier with a steel helmet on his head and a rifle on his back shines a lantern into a boxcar filled with people. Inside the car a child clings to his mother’s legs. Another soldier points at someone on the 4 Print The People’s Print Shop: Art, Politics, and the Taller de Gráfica Popular Ryan Long Print 85 Figure 4.1. Leopoldo Méndez, Deportación a la muerte, 1942. Linocut. Reprinted in Hannes Meyer (ed.), TGP México: El Taller de Gráfica Popular, doce años de obra artística colectiva, p. 8. Photograph by Ryan Long. train. A man lying on the floor of the car is too weak to sit upright. The train extends to the horizon, where a plume of black smoke rises from either its engine or a crematorium. The lantern that exposes the huddling crowd also reveals to the world the nature of the Nazis’ crimes against humanity in the linoleum-cut print titled Deportación a la muerte (Deportation to Death [Death Train], 1942) (figure 4.1), which Deborah Caplow (2007) describes as “one of the earliest-known images of the Holocaust by an artist outside the camps” (166). It may come as a surprise to some readers that the image Caplow describes was created by a Mexican artist, the renowned printmaker Leopoldo Méndez. The volume in which the print originally appeared, El libro negro del terror nazi en Europa (The Black Book of Nazi Terror in Europe, 1943), was published in Mexico by a press associated with Alemania Libre (Free Germany), a German exile organization (Caplow, Leopoldo Méndez 161–62). Hannes Meyer, the Swiss-born architect and former director of the Bauhaus, lived in Mexico City from 1939 to 1949,and he was in charge of selecting the images that appeared in 86 Ryan Long El libro negro, thirty-two of which were made by ten different artists, including Méndez, who were associated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular (Workshop for Popular Graphic Art), or TGP (Meyer, TGP México xiv). The visual elements of Deportación are characteristic of much of the TGP’s work. Formally, it uses contrast effectively, tying a dynamic relation between light and dark por­ tions of the image into the development of its content. And even though the train in the image is stopped, the print suggests movement toward a place outside of its frame.Thematically, it is political and denunciatory. It highlights repression , injustice, suffering, and the need to call attention to these and other problems. Throughout its most vibrant period, extending from its foundation in 1937 until the late 1950s, the TGP produced politically engaged art whose topics were relevant both within and beyond Mexico’s borders.The TGP’s early years transpired during a period of national and global transformation and upheaval. Mexico was recovering from the destruction and instability wrought by two wars, the Revolution, which lasted from 1910 until about 1920, and the Cristero War, which was fought from 1926 to 1929 but whose violent repercussions persisted for years.The relative stability of the 1930s and the reforms that took place during the 1934–1940 presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas,including significant land redistribution and the expropriation of Mexico’s oil from foreign corporations, fostered and coincided with the efforts of many visual artists, filmmakers, writers , and other intellectuals to imagine and help make a better Mexico. Calls for justice, equality, and the defense of the oppressed were at the...


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