Antonio Gutiérrez, one of the most talented graphic artists of popular art

  • The art of Rarotonga’, at the CiudadMX Museum, includes 50 original pages from the magazine ‘Tears, laughter and love’

The popular Mexican comic was disdained for decades, it is time to recover it and revalue it through the works of its creators”, considered the graphic and prose narrator Bernardo Fernández, Bef, about the exhibition Antonio Gutiérrez: The art of Rarotonga, which will be will open at the Museum of Mexico City.

The author of the saga of crime novels Tiempo de scorpions and the comic Habla María, with which he seeks to promote understanding of autism spectrum disorders, explained in an interview that Antonio Gutiérrez (1920-2006), “the most splendid Mexican cartoonist of the golden age of national comics, was devoured by oblivion.

The comics that he illustrated circulated by millions and today, if anything, the name of its screenwriter is remembered, Yolanda Vargas Dulché, who by the way was not the creator of Rarotonga, but her husband, Guillermo de la Parra.

“The exhibition is a well-deserved tribute to one of the most talented graphic artists of our popular art. This exhibition does not imply that the teacher Gutiérrez is more deserving of it than other cartoonists, on the contrary, I hope it was the first of many that celebrate those who through comics built a solid national identity and helped to cement Mexican popular culture, a comic today forgotten and buried by American superheroes and Japanese manga.

rescued works
Bef, winner of the Commitment to Literature recognition at the 2021 León National Book Fair, and the Silverio Cañadas Memorial Award at Gijón’s Black Week in 2006, among other awards, indicated that in the exhibition “we will see exhibited for the first time 50 originals by Antonio Gutiérrez, which were rescued from their imminent destruction many years ago and that, along with a series of objects related to the Rarotonga comic, we will be able to appreciate the gigantic graphic work that involved the creation of a comic with the medium technique. tone, a very detailed work that was lost at the time of reproduction.

“We will learn a little more about this emblematic female character and the story behind her creation, but, above all, we will honor, as he deserves, for the first time who was considered by his contemporaries the most talented cartoonist of his generation”, among they are Ángel Mora, creator of Chanoc, and Sixto Valencia, definitive illustrator of Memín Pinguín.

In turn, Laura Nallely Hernández Nieto, researcher of Mexican cartoons and comics, curator of the exhibition together with the designer Alfonso Acosta, the artist’s grandson, announced that “some of the objects that Gutiérrez acquired on a trip to the islands of the South Pacific (invited by Vargas Dulché and De la Parra, to document themselves before making the comic), such as a mask and two necklaces, and a text where the musician Joselo Rangel, founder of the Café Tacvba group, explains why he wrote Rarotonga song.

Acosta commented that “among the originals on display, there is one (page 1 of number 627 of the magazine Lágrimas, risas y amor, in which Rarotonga was presented), whose creation I witnessed live, leaning out on the edge of the rest of my grandfather while drawing it.

Hernández Nieto, a doctor in art history from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a teacher from the same institution, and a graduate in social communication from the Metropolitan Autonomous University, explained that “as a curator, I was impressed to see Antonio Gutiérrez’s meticulous research process . She moved me to see that this author put together a personal archive of images from which he nurtured his work.

That speaks of an artist committed to his readers”.

The inauguration of Antonio Gutiérrez: The Art of Rarotonga will take place this May at the Museum of Mexico City, located at Pino Suárez 30, in the Historic Center of the country’s capital.