CALAVERAS

I stumbled across these dancing calaveras this morning while jogging on the Paseo de la Reforma, in Mexico City. Turns out the group was celebrating the legacy of the great Mexican satirist and folk artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.

Mexico City and Aguascalientes, Posada’s hometown, have gone all out this year, the centenary of Posada’s death, to recognize the work of a man who died in obscurity, but whose genius was recognized–and whose reputation was revived–by Diego Rivera, among others, a few decades after Posada’s death.

Today Posada imagery is everywhere in Mexico, and I’m sure that for some, its ubiquity has diminished its power. But not I. Even when I find it leering at me next to a Frida Kahlo refrigerator magnet, the smiling, dandified face of death still manages to deliver a shiver and a shock.

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