The Museo of the Palacio de Bellas Artes inaugurated an exhibition Thursday of Mexican photographer Nacho López in honor of the 30th anniversary of his death.
The retrospective of photographs and ephemera spans the career of the artist formally know as Ignacio López Bocanegra (1923-1986), from his early forays into pioneering photojournalism, choosing to represent a more diverse representation of the citizens of Mexico City, and then pueblas and indigenous communities, surrealist experimentalism and cinematic work.
The exhibition is presented as part of a collaboration between the Culture Secretariat, Universidad Veracruzana, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes, directed by Miguel Fernández Félix, and the López family archive.
Paying homage to the photographer on the 30th anniversary of his passing, the exhibition was curated by José Antonio Rodriguez and Alberto Tovalín Ahumada. The last exhibition of this size dedicated to López was made at the Museo de Arte Moderno in the 1980’s.
Fittingly, included in the collection are photos from a series López shot in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1956 of dancers, a setting nearly unchanged as exhibition attendees pass between the six galleries in the building displaying photographs, videos and ephemera.
The exhibit spans his career from his work in the early 1950’s, of ordinary scenes in the streets and cantinas of Mexico City, at the time defying the trend of “alemanismo” named after the president Miguel Alemán whose ambition was to provide a unified positive identity of the cosmopolitan Mexico. In this way, López was not afraid to reflect an unsanitized vision of the city, rarely portraying the higher classes, thus setting a photojournalistic precedent.
The curation winds the viewer through the progression and phases of López’s diverse career, moving from his very personal view on Mexico’s indigenous cultures, to most his experimental works utilizing his wife and friends, his series observing Mexico’s golden age of dance, cinematography projects, and magazine layouts and photo essays López created by provoked reactions. One well-known example of the latter is the series “Cuando una mujer bella parte plaza por Madero” (When a beautiful woman parts Madero) in which friend and actress Matty Huitrón walks Madero street as López photographs bystander’s reactions.
López is known as a precursor of photojournalism in Mexico, but the exhibition also displays his work as a cinematographer, professor and essayist. The exhibit catalog includes photos, and some essays and poetry.
To broaden the experience of visitors, the museum will present a film series at the Cineteca Nacional from May 10 to 15.
The exhibition will be open to the public until July 10, from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The cost is 60 pesos ($3.04). Admission is free to students, teachers, those over 60, under 13, or disabled. Free admission to the general public on Sundays.