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Important exhibition of photographs by Graciela Iturbide opens at Throckmorton Fine Art
Graciela Iturbide, Mixteca, 1994. Gelatin silver print, 20x16, signed.

NEW YORK, NY.- Coinciding with a year-long show of Graciela Iturbide’s photographs now on view at the Tate Modern in London, Throckmorton Fine Art has announced an important exhibition of photographs by the world renowned Mexican artist at its New York gallery from November 14, 2013 to January 11, 2014.

Poignant images taken by Iturbide over the last three decades in her native Mexico highlight the exhibition, as well as a powerful collection of gelatin silver prints shot by Iturbide during long stays in India, Italy, the United States, Madagascar and Spain. It is the juxtaposition of locations and subjects that makes Iturbide’s work so fascinating to view. Iturbide’s curiosity seems to have no boundaries and subjects range from powerful portraits of the matriarchs of the Jucatan in southern Mexico, to Texas truck stops.

Michael Brand, Director of The J. Paul Getty Museum when it celebrated its tenth anniversary year in 2007 with an exhibition, “The Goat’s Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide,” has said that Iturbide was “the heir to all that is best about the tradition of subjective photography in Mexico.” It was only the second time the museum had honored a Mexican photographer – the first being a show of photographs by Iturbide’s longtime friend and mentor, “Manual Alvarez Bravo: Optical Parables.”

Brand said Iturbide, born in Mexico City in 1942, assumed the mantle of revered interpreter of the Mexican spirit when Alvarez Bravo passed away in that city in 2002, at the age of 100. The Getty had been able to add photographs by both Mexican legends through the generous patronage of two Los Angeles citizens, Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, through their involvement with the Getty’s Photographs Council.

According to Spencer Throckmorton, “Iturbide is well known for her intimate study of the Seri Indians living near the Sea of Cortes, as well as images displaying her reaction to the bleak landscapes she saw on an extended road trip through the American South. But she also used her camera to capture contrasts in cultures as diverse as Italy, India and Madagascar. We are delighted to be able to bring some of these less familiar images to a new audience with this exhibition. Of course for many collectors, the Iturbide images that strike the strongest cord are her 1980s photographs of the powerful matriarchal aspects of the Juchitan culture in the remote southern Mexican city. They are considered central to Iturbide’s genius. What links all of Iturbide’s images is her ability to enter into an intimate world where she captures the very essence of a person’s soul, or a landscape’s allure.”

Iturbide was known to have drawn strength from her long stays in Juchitan between 1979-1988, where the composure and resolve of the women greatly inspired her. In Judith Keller’s essay for Graciela Iturbide’s Juchitan catalog Iturbide said, “I spent a lot of time at the public market, hanging out with these big, strong politicized, emancipated, wonderful women. It was a mythical place that had been visited by Cartier-Bresson, Eisenstein, Tina Modotti, Frida Kahlo, something I did not know when I was lucky enough to get a call in 1979 from Francisco Toledo who offered me the Juchitan project.”

In the TATE Modern Museum’s introduction to its current GRACIELA ITURBIDE show, (on view now through May 11, 2014) curators Simon Baker and Shoair Mavlian say, “In contrast to the objectivity conventionally associated with documentary practice, Iturbide’s works often result from a strong mutual relationship between subject and artist. This type of exchange can be seen most clearly in Iturbide’s work in traditional rural communities, which is based upon her building longstanding relationships with local people. In the southern Mexican region of Tehuantepec Isthmus, for example, she undertook a decade-long project in Juchitán, a small town known for its rare matriarchal social structure. Her stay produced some of her best-known images and culminated in the seminal photobook Juchitán of Women (1989). Although Iturbide produces the majority of her work in Mexico, this display also includes work from her more recent projects in India, Italy and the American states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas.

Iturbide had not begun as a still photographer. She had originally enrolled in film school at the Centro de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónama de México but was drawn to still photography when she met Alvarez Bravo, who was teaching there. He became her mentor and she assisted him on a number of photographic shoots throughout Mexico.

Besides the Getty, Iturbide’s works are in the permanent collections of many major museums around the world, and she has been awarded numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has enjoyed solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou (1982), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1990), Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), Paul Getty Museum (2007), MAPFRE Foundation, Madrid (2009), Photography Museum Winterthur (2009), and Barbican Art Gallery (2012).

Iturbide is the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Foundation Award, 1987; the Grand Prize Mois de la Photo, Paris, 1988; a Guggenheim Fellowship for the project ‘Fiesta y Muerte’, 1988; the Hugo Erfurth Award, Leverkusen, Germany, 1989; the International Grand Prize, Hokkaido, Japan, 1990; the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie Award, Arles, 1991; the Hasselblad Award, 2008; the National Prize of Sciences and Arts in Mexico City in 2008; an Honorary Degree in photography from the Columbia College Chicago in 2008; and an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009.

She continues to live and work in Mexico City.

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