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mercoledì 13 luglio 2016

Carlos Cortez - Rebel Graphics (August 13, 1923 – January 19, 2005)

Carlos Cortez


    Carlos Cortez (August 13, 1923 – January 19, 2005) was a poet, graphic artist, photographer, muralist and political activist, active for six decades in the Industrial Workers of the World.
    Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1923, the son of a Mexican-Indian Wobbly union organizer father and a German socialist pacifist mother, Cortez spent 18 months in a US prison as a conscientious objector during the World War II, refusing to "shoot at fellow draftees."
    Cortez joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1947, identifying himself as an anarcho-syndicalist, writing articles and drawing cartoons for the union newspaper the Industrial Worker for several decades.
    As an accomplished artist and a highly influential political artist, Cortez is perhaps best known for his wood and linoleum-cut graphics. His work is represented in the collections of several museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago holds the largest, most complete collection of Carlos Cortez's work. In 2002, Cortez edited and introduced the book Viva Posada: A Salute to the Great Printmaker of the Mexican Revolution (ISBN 0-88286-261-8).


  • "When you do a painting that's it, it's one of a kind. But when you do a graphic the amount of prints you can make from it is infinite. I made a provision in my estate, for whoever will take care of my blocks, that if any of my graphic works are selling for high prices immediate copies should be made to keep the price down."
 Crystal-Gazing the Amber Fluid
By Carlos Cortez

Sitting at this bar
Thinking of places
In my glass of beer
I see
Thru the smoke-filled haze Of this room
Like a crystal vision
A ribbon of cement
Black line down the middle
Perdition bent
Like a galloping snake
On the make
Thru treeless prairies
And bottomless passes
Ever in motion
Over a moonkissed desert
Toward golden California
Stopped only
By a big blue ocean,
Give me the song
If you can
Of a greyhound motor's
Crawling along
Some old ten-mile grade
Where life can be complete...

 Field Workers

Joe Hill

Before The Disappearance

Chicago Sings! (In Many Voices)

Carlos did not fear returning to his mother earth. In one of his books of poetry, "de Kansas a Califas," he wrote:


When the Tumbleweed
Has finished his days of existence,
The roots that bind him down
To Earth Mother
Give way
And he can go wherever
The wind takes him.

How much better
Than a tombstone
And the Pearly Gates!

Carlos Cortez Koyokuikatl
Untitled Linocut

Date: 1978
Size: 29 1/2" high x 19 1/2" wide
Medium: monotype and color on amate paper
Collection of Gary D. Keller Cárdenas 

"I Want You." In his book of poems,"Where Are The Voices?" referring to the Hay Market Martyrs , he wrote;

Houn' Dog

Trotting along the sidewalk
with not a feline in sight
to give chase to
and not a girl doggie in sight
that he can pursue
but just as happy as
only a houn' dog can be,
he espies the recruiting poster
in front of the post office.
His tail stops wagging
long enough
as he cranes his head forward
to make the sniff test
and upon seeing that it
does not sniff too well,
with excellent body english
and a back paw salute,
he administers upon this artifact
of an alleged higher creation,
his most eloquent appraisal.

Carlos Cortez (American, 1923 - 2005)
Police Brutality.
Woodcut. c1940s
Carlos Cortez (American, 1923 - 2005)
Group of 2 Prints.
* Military Funeral. Woodcut. c1940s.

Carlos Cortez (American, 1923 - 2005)
Industrial Workers of the World.
Woodcut. c1940s

The Oaxaca Calavera

Portrait of Jose Guadalupe Posada
and His Catrina 1981
© Carlos Cortez 1981

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