Día de los Muertos (or "Day of the Dead," for the infinitesimal fraction of English-speaking California residents who havent picked up a smattering of holiday Spanish) is a celebration renowned for the particular aesthetic of its accompanying art and altars. Nary a San Franciscan has failed to walk past a shop window in the Mission and admire the calavera figurines: skeletons dressed up in ordinary clothes and conspicuously involved in the most quotidian human affairs. "Bring Back the Dead" honors two nineteenth-century Mexican printmakers, José Guadalupe Posada and Manuel Manilla, whose work came to be associated with Día de los Muertos. The two created thousands of illustrations for news broadsides and other editorial publications, and often used calavera images to satirize current events and public figures. The exhibition serves as a memoriam for the artists and a nod to their artistic contribution -- Mexican artists like Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco were fond of citing Posada as an inspiration -- and features many of the original calavera images from these broadsides. Tonights gala reception also includes a mask-making demonstration by Felipe Horta, sugar skull techniques by Miguel Quintana, and a competition among the vast array of altars erected in the gallery.
A reception for "Bring Back the Dead" starts at 6 p.m. Nov. 2.
Nov. 2-21, 2009