Santa Barbara Museum of Art Presents
Agustín Víctor Casasola:
Mirada y memoria (Glance and Memory)

September 26, 2004 - January 9, 2005

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Contact: Martha Donelan
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Augustín Víctor Casasola, Mujer tras las rejas, Ciudad de México (Woman behind bars, Mexico City), ca. 1935. Contemporary print from an original nitrocellulose negative.
Collection of the Casasola Archive, National Institute of Anthropology and History (CONACULTA-INAH), Mexico City.

The celebration of Art of the Americas continues at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) with the opening of the exhibition Agustín Víctor Casasola: Mirada y memoria (Glance and Memory). One of Latin America's first photojournalists, Casasola documented the tumultuous events of the early twentieth century, in a style that ranged from the celebratory to the unforgettably tragic. Keenly aware of the power of the photographic image, Casasola approached every subject with as much objectivity as possible and countless documentary photographers emulated his trademark style.

The exhibition of 92 images was selected by contemporary photographer Pablo Ortiz Monasterio from the more than 500,000-image archive housed at the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico. A 220-page publication entitled Mexico. The Revolution and Vision: Photographs by Casasola, 1900-1940 accompanies the exhibition and includes additional images as well as essays by Pete Hamill, Sergio Raul, and Rosa Casanova, and is available in the SBMA store.

The exhibition is organized into eight different categories, which show Casasola's range, technical expertise, and extraordinary drive to record his country during one of its critical periods. Among the most powerful are his images of the Mexican Revolution, a fratricidal war that shook the country for almost twenty years and caused nearly a million deaths, and his individual and group portraits which encompass nearly all strata of society.

Born in Mexico City in 1874, Casasola began working in typographic workshops at an early age, and was already a reporter by the age of twenty. At the turn of the century he had established himself as a photographer. In 1912, he opened one of the first professional photography agencies in partnership with his brother Miguel; later his children and grandchildren joined the partnership. Casasola's motto for the company was, "I have or can produce the photo you need." This agency helped Casasola realize his lifelong obsession: the creation of a photographic archive that recorded the history of Mexico as it unfolded.

"Casasola's portraits are particularly strong, for he believed that the true indicator of the nation's health was not found simply in economics, but in the tenor of its people. He captured the turbulence of the times while also documenting the cultural trends," said Karen Sinsheimer, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art's curator of photography.

Agustín Víctor Casasola: Mirada y memoria has been organized by Canopia and Turner in collaboration with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and Pachuca National Photography Library (Fototeca Nacional de Pachuca, Mexico). The Art of the Americas Celebration is generously supported, in part, by Jill and John C. Bishop, Jr., The Charles and Mildred Bloom Fund, The Challenge Fund, The Cheeryble Foundation, Melissa and Trevor Fetter, Christine Garvey, Larry and Astrid Hammett, Lillian and Jon Lovelace, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Museum of Art Visionaries, Santa Barbara Museum of Art Women's Board, Mr. and Mrs. C. William Schlosser, Tenet Healthcare Foundation, Tighe Family Charitable Lead Trust, and anonymous donors.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA. Open Tuesday - Sunday 11 am to 5 pm. Closed Monday. Free every Sunday. 805.963.4364 <>

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