“Sensacional! Mexican Street Graphics,” a superficially vibrant exhibition at the Massachusetts College of Art + Design, promises a taste of authentic regional visual cuisine. Too much of what it delivers, unfortunately, is a denatured and puffed-up imitation of the real thing.
Along with many photographs of wall paintings, the exhibition organizers included actual signs, posters, and other materials printed on paper and cardboard. And to further represent nonportable wall paintings, they hired a team of Mexican sign painters to create simulations of actual signs. Made on canvas, wood panels designed to resemble construction fencing, and rectangles of corrugated plastic, these paintings replicate ads for food stands, auto-parts stores, locksmiths, barber shops, and other businesses. The copies represent the show’s most visually assertive dimension, and because they are simulations, they are its biggest problem.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design