As We See It

Art, history and politics collide in an exhibition at the Mexican Consulate

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The opening reception of La Reforma, El Imperio, y La Republica, an exhibit at the Mexican Consulate in Las Vegas on Dec. 16, 2014.
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

In today’s wired society, there’s little escape from the hostility tossed between conservatives and liberals jockeying to one-up the other side. But back in 19th-century Mexico, when partisan divides were no less messy and brutally tearing apart the country, journalists went at it with visual narratives that gained international recognition for both biting commentary and influential artistic verve.

The opening reception of La Reforma, El Imperio, y La Republica, an exhibit at the Mexican Consulate in Las Vegas on Dec. 16, 2014.

Among the satirical masters in pen was Constantino Escalante, revered cartoonist and co-founder of the liberal publication La Orquesta, which detailed the political warfare, the turbulence of French intervention and installation of Maximilian as emperor. Illustrated works by Escalante and others can be seen at the Mexican Consulate of Las Vegas as part of La Reforma, El Imperio y La República: Estampas y caricaturas de la intervención francesa, an exhibit that originated at Mexico City’s Museum of Estanquilo in 2012. The 120 pieces represent the dissemination of information and opinions in a real-time narrative of the turbulent past.

The collection is on a brief tour, arriving here after display at Dallas’ Mexican Consulate and presented through the curatorial eye of Emmanuel Ortega, who teaches art history at UNLV and is part of an informal cultural committee bringing to the consulate more art-related events like La Reforma, a rare treat for political junkies, history buffs and art audiences.

La Reforma Through January 16. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Consulate of Mexico, 823 S. 6th St. 702-477-2700.

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