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Lourdes Grobet "Ponzona, Arena Coliseo"

Lourdes Grobet "Ponzona, Arena Coliseo"

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From: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Limited Edition: 30
Exhibition: Photography in Mexico: Selected Works from the Collections of SFMOMA and Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 72" x 35" (182cm x 88cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


Had you attended Latino Night as part of SFMOMA’s Photography in Mexico exhibition, you might have brought your own mask for a shot at the Mexican wrestling photo booth. Lourdes Grobet, whose photograph Ponzoña, Arena Coliseo appears on the banner for the exhibition, has spent her career photographing luchadores, or wrestlers, allowing their elaborate costumes and masks to paint a picture of Mexican culture, past and present. The exhibition includes 150 works by Mexican, American and European photographers who captured the essence of Mexico from 1920 to the present.


Exploring the rich and varied Mexican photographic traditions from the 1920s to the present, Photography in Mexico reveals a country fraught with dichotomies: wealth and destitution, cultural vibrancy and violence, low-income suburban sprawl and extraordinary beauty. The exhibition included 150 works from SFMOMA’s collection, including gifts and loans from collectors Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser. It features Mexican photographers but also those from the U.S. and Europe who found great inspiration in Mexico.

The exhibition started with the first artistic forays into photography by Edward Weston and Tina Modotti following the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Since photographers could rarely earn enough to make a living, many turned to photojournalism in the midcentury; Manuel Carrillo celebrated the common people while Hector Garcia and Rodrigo Moya focused on the political and social turbulence of contemporary life in illustrated publications. In the 1970s and 1980s, photographers such as Lourdes Grobet and Graciela Iturbide developed photographic documentaries. Grobet documented Mexican wrestlers and the cultural significance of the mask, and Iturbide studied the lives of indigenous people. The exhibition’s final pieces focus on northern Mexico border issues with the work of photographers such as Victoria Sambunaris and Paolo Pellegrin.

Grobet captured the lives of luchadores in and out of the ring, such as with Ponzoña, Arena Coliseo (1983). She published several collections of her photographs that shed light on Mexican wrestling and its associated costumes that stemmed from the practices of multiple indigenous cultures going as far back as the Aztecs. Her photographs often show a wrestler in all his glittery finery in stark contrast to a domestic scene. Ponzoña, Arena Coliseo is a gelatin silver print and part of SFMOMA’s permanent collection.

Ponzoña, Arena Coliseo appears on the front of the banner used to promote the exhibition. The back side of the banner is blue with the white lettering: “Photography in Mexico/Mar 10-Jul 8.” The SFMOMA logo appears at the bottom, also in white.


This banner was displayed around the San Francisco area between March 10 and July 8, 2012 to promote the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's exhibition Photography in Mexico.

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