March 21, 2008 - Americas Society - Panel Discussion: Iturbide in Context
March 21, 2008

Panel Discussion: Iturbide in Context

Graciela Iturbide
El General Torrijos en una de
las visitas al campo panameño, 1975
Pigment on archival rag paper
Courtesy of the artist

Panel Discussion: Iturbide in Context
Thursday, March 27, 6:30 pm

680 Park Avenue at 68th St.
New York, NY 10021
T: (212) 249 8950
F: (212) 249 5868
Free Admission

Panel Discussion: Iturbide in Context
Thursday, March 27, 6:30 pm

Anna Indych-López, Assistant Professor, Art Department, The City College of New York, (Ph.D. Institute of Fine Arts, New York 2003).

, Associate Professor of Latin American Art History, University of Connecticut, (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1996).
Lynda Klich, Adjunct Lecturer, Art Department, Hunter College, The City University of New York, (Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts, New York, 2008).

Greeley addresses the relationship of photography to political action – a relationship that has a troubled history in Latin America of this period. The lecture discusses Iturbide’s photographic engagement with two very different forms of political mobilization: the inclusionary authoritarianism of the Torrijos regime in 1970s Panama, and the grassroots politics of the COCEI (Coalition of Workers, Peasants, and Students of the Isthmus) movement in 1980s Juchitán.

Klich considers the nature of Iturbide’s portrayal of Torrijos as a revolutionary hero by placing her photographs within the visual legacy of Mexican post-Revolutionary culture (specifically the photographs of Tina Modotti). Also, by contrasting Iturbide’s photographs with public images of other populist leaders from Latin America, Klich’s aim is to demonstrate that Iturbide established, with Torrijos’s help, a pictorial construction of him as a man of the people rather than a political icon.

In addition to introducing the panelists and serving as moderator, Indych-López will very briefly place the Torrijos: The Man and The Myth, Photographs by Graciela Iturbide exhibition in the context of the Americas Society’s history of exhibitions of Mexican Art and Latin American photography.

This public program accompanies the Torrijos: The Man and The Myth. Photographs by Graciela Iturbide currently on view at the Americas Society’s gallery.

In this exhibition, artist Graciela Iturbide explores in an intensely personal homage an era of contemporary Latin American life through the persona of a single man whose changing role in that history is emblematic of the times. She establishes both place and identity not only of her distinguished subject but the context of country, the land itself, in aesthetic and vernacular style alike. Presented for the first time, this complex body of work redefines the photographic image of General Omar Torrijos by looking at it as a document and metaphor, often deconstructing and reconstructing Iturbide’s own personal intersections with her subject. The symbolic and expressive imagery of the works, produced three decades ago, offer a visual paradigm that calls on memory, and a re-presentation of facts that conjure an emotional bond between subject and viewer, whether affirmative or oppositional.

Torrijos was a charismatic populist military leader who died in a 1981 plane crash. The Torrijos legend is of a man of action, yet an idealist strategist and a polemic figure. The recent populist shift in Latin America recalls an examination of this earlier period of history, making the personality of Torrijos newly relevant. Iturbide provides an insightful portrait of Torrijos as a popular myth that blends tradition and modernity.

This exhibition is curated by Nan Richardson and is organized by the Americas Society in conjunction with Umbrage Editions. Americas Society gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Galería Emma Molina, Graciela Iturbide, the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation and La Fundación/Colección Jumex. Additional support has been provided by the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.

The listed event is free, open to the public and will take place at Americas Society.

We are located at 680 Park Avenue at 68th Street, in New York City.
For wheelchair access, kindly call in advance.

Reservations are mandatory, so please RSVP to: (212) 277-8359 or

For more information, visit . If you have questions or comments, please email us at

Americas Society

Americas Society
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