The Sunlit Studio a Son Built for His Photographer-Mother

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By Luisita Lopez Torregrosa | New York Times Style Magazine


ON A COLONIAL back street in historic Coyoacán, in central Mexico City, a three-story brick tower rises above the low-roofed adobe homes in a labyrinthine neighborhood. The fall afternoon’s fading light tinges the building’s facade — walls of porous bricks laid at right angles to let in air and light while shielding the interior from view — a burnt sienna. This is Studio Iturbide, the latest project by the Mexico City-based firm Taller / Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, who built it for Rocha’s mother, the photographer Graciela Iturbide, whose portraiture, most famously of weathered women in Oaxacan villages, is in the permanent collections of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Brooklyn Museum.

The 75-year-old Iturbide is waiting at the doorway, diminutive, her black hair short and wavy, her complexion milky. “Mauricio will be here soon,” she says, as we enter her monolithic workspace, which is constructed of little more than red brick and wood-framed panes of glass. The architects created a hundred models before agreeing on the current design: three nine-foot-high, 300-square-foot rooms stacked atop one another, along with two interior bricked-in patios on the first floor furnished with clay pots of cacti and other regional plants, which offer the only visual disruption of the house’s earthen hues and exacting lines. Inside, the brick walls are adorned with little but the shadows of the day’s moving light.

Taking the broad wooden stairs, which are joined by invisible steel supports and appear suspended in midair, Iturbide walks us from the formal first-floor living room, with its Isamu Noguchi paper lantern and low, modernist sofa, past the casual second-floor family room and up to the top floor of the building. “This is my studio, where I work,” she says, her arms outstretched to take in the airy 16-by-19-foot space, lit by the sun coming in through two wall-size windows. Here, on a nine-foot-long oak table, Iturbide edits her photographs. Forty years of archives are stored in dozens of flat, black boxes on custom hardwood bookshelves that rise from either side of the table. “The interior space is very important for me and my work,” she says. “I need to be alone often.”

This is not the first time Iturbide’s son has made her a building: Across the street is her main house, a cream-colored adobe structure that Rocha built in 1991, when he was 25 and had just finished architecture school. In 2014, seeking more space (and freedom from her belongings), Iturbide purchased an empty lot and asked him to build on it. Her only condition was that it be made of brick: “What I wanted was to be tranquil in my studio,” she says. “I gave him total freedom.” The result, which took two years to complete, combines four kinds of brick — handmade in different dimensions in Puebla, a city known for its ceramics — with tzalam, a heavily grained hardwood brought from Mexico’s tropical south. Iturbide calls the building her “small factory of bricks.”

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Make Art, Not Walls | Art Talk with Edward Goldman on KCRW

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Tonight, I want to tell you about an amazing event, which is happening – yes – now, at this very moment. And, if you are listening, my advice is to drop whatever you are doing and get yourself to Bergamot Station.


Tonight, from 6 to 9 pm, there is a unique event taking place there – at RoseGallery – an opening reception for the exhibition, MAKE ART NOT WALLS. This exhibition aims to support and celebrate the life and art of a group of refugees and migrants from Nigeria and Gambia who are currently seeking asylum in Italy.
This title, MAKE ART NOT WALLS, comes from an Italian art organization of the same name, founded by Virginia Ryan, who, with a group of volunteers, provides West African refugees with space and donated art materials to tell their dramatic and often painful stories of escape and survival.


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Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide | Book Talk and Signing with author Isabel Quintero and illustrator Zeke Peña

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April 5, 2018 | 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM | El Paso Museum of Art

For more information, please visit

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Join author Isabel Quintero and illustrator Zeke Peña as they discuss Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications), their evocative and poetic graphic biography about renowned Mexican photographer, Graciela Iturbide. Peña will present original drawings from the book while Quintero reads excerpts. Book signing to follow discussion.


Isabel Quintero lives and writes in the Inland Empire of Southern California, where she was born and raised. Quintero received her BA in English and MA in English composition from California State University, San Bernardino. Her first novel, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, was one of School Library Journal’s and Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014, and won the American Library Association’s William C. Morris Award prize for a debut young-adult novel.

Zeke Peña is a cartoonist, an illustrator, and a painter. He was born in southern New Mexico and grew up on the U.S.–Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. Peña received a degree in art history from the University of Texas at Austin. His illustrations have appeared on album and book covers, in editorials and comics, and as graphics for community organizing. He has published work with Getty Publications,, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Cinco Puntos Press.


Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide follows photographer Graciela Iturbide from her birth in 1942 in Mexico City, to a tragedy endured as a young mother, to her travels as a successful artist to Juchitán, Los Angeles, Frida Kahlo’s home, and many more locations. Graciela’s story excites young readers and budding photographers, inspiring them by her resolve, ability, and curiosity. Photographic has received much acclaim and a starred review in the School Library Journal.

Maurizio Cattelan Honors Martin Parr With a Special Edition of Toiletpaper Magazine

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The latest edition of Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s surrealist picture-led magazine Toiletpaper celebrates the work of the British documentary photographer and former Magnum president Martin Parr.

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The special edition of the cult magazine, published by Damiani and run by Cattelan since his “retirement” from art in 2011, is called ToiletMartin PaperParr, and includes a series of colorful spreads. On one side are new images created by Maurizio Cattelan and his collaborator since 2009, the fashion and advertising photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. Parr has selected complementary images from his archive to adorn the other side of each of the vibrant, full-bleed spreads. The result is as surreal as it is splendid.

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UNESCO Recognizes the Archive of Manuel Álvarez Bravo

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The artist's legacy continues to impact the world. 


The file of negatives and documents of Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002) was inscribed in the International Memory of the World Register of UNESCO.

The International Consultative Committee (ICC) of UNESCO's Memory of the World program recommended at its meeting held in Paris 78 new inscriptions in the UNESCO International Memory of the World register.

The file of Manuel Álvarez Bravo (considered the "greatest representative of twentieth-century Latin American photography") is manages by the Association that bears the same name as the photographer 

For the entire article, please visit El Universal.

John Chiara Price Increase

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There will be an increase of John Chiara's prices on 1 December, 2017.

Kindly let us know if you would like us to send you a PDF with available works.

John Chiara,  Levee Road: Burkes: State Line , (From the Mississippi Series), 2014

John Chiara, Levee Road: Burkes: State Line, (From the Mississippi Series), 2014

Spotlight Series: Pablo Ortiz Monasterio

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 How did we allow that to happen?  Who are we? 
Who have we become?

- Pablo Ortiz Monasterio

It has been three years since 43 students from a rural teaching college in Ayotzinapa disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, as they were on their way to Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the 1968 Tlateloco Massacre. Ever since the morning that photographer Pablo Ortiz Monasterio read the news of the abduction, he has been in shock and has wondered how he could keep the memory of these 43 students and work towards a world in which an event like this could never happen again. The shock of this tragedy and the evident complicity of authorities in the students’ disappearance has made Monasterio question who we are and how we got to this point. In Monasterio’s recent series Desaparecen? the artist delved into this tragedy and shone a light on the mark left on Mexico by the 43 missing students. 

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio,  Untitled , from the series  Desaparecen?

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Untitled, from the series Desaparecen?

When thinking of how to help preserve the memory of the 43 students, Pablo said, “I decided to use the tools I have in terms of conveying ideas through photography to talk about this.” With photographs that he had already taken, Monasterio searched for images that conveyed the pain, sorrow and anger that was felt throughout Mexico, hoping to find the emotions existing in the subtext of his photographs. 

When working with his photographs he came across an image with a glass tabletop tied to large green slabs of wood. The lines moving across the composition reminded him of the notebooks with printed green lines from when he was in a young student in school. Just as he would write across these lines as a student, he began writing the numbers counting up to 43 across the photograph - each number representing an Ayotzinapa student who was abducted and disappeared in September of 2014.


With this method in mind, Monasterio began to write 1 through 43 across many of his photographs, embedding their mark in the visual landscape while showing that the tragedy of Ayotzinapa exists within a wider context. 

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio,  Untitled , from the series  Desaparecen?

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Untitled, from the series Desaparecen?

With the photographs from the series, Monasterio created a book as well as a portfolio of prints. With the portfolio, Monasterio is able to subsidize his book, which is sold at an affordable price so that memory of the 43 students can reach as wide an audience as possible.