- Museum number
- Object: La prensa al servicio del imperialismo (The Press serving imperialism)
Satire with a balloon made out of different Mexican newspapers with the face of a man wearing a bullet belt round his waist; it is rooted to the earth by wires that plug into various objects and is controlled by people on the ground. 1939.
- Production date
Height: 343 millimetres
Width: 303 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from 'Revolution on Paper: Mexican Prints 1910-1960', Dawn Adès and Alison McClean, with the assistance of Laura Campbell, edited by Mark McDonald, BMP, 2009.
'Zalce's print addresses the subject of the press manifesting state propaganda controlled by the government. An inflated balloon with a human head and hands floats through the sky. Its body is made from the front pages from Mexican newspapers 'Excelsior', 'El Universal', 'La Prensa', 'Novedades', 'Omega', and 'El hombre libre'. To the left of 'Novedades', one of the newspapers has an indistinct title which at first looks like 'Ultimas noticias' ('The Latest News'), yet upon closer examination reads 'Ultimas mentiras' ('The Latest Lies'). It is unlikely to represent an actual publication, but indicates the corrupt nature of the Mexican press because it supports the views of its benefactors.
The figure holds its right hand in a three-finger presidential salute. Around its waist it wears a bullet belt, which had become synonymous with the iconography of the Mexican Revolution, suggesting the role of the press as a weapon in this conflict.
On the ground beneath the balloon a few people gather, looking on and pointing, and one of them operates the pump which inflates the balloon. At the far left a man wearing a crucifix probably represents the control exerted by the Church over the press. The most prominent pump, attached to which is a flag labelled 'aire gratis' (free air), is inscribed with a pound sign, an unusual choice to symbolize capitalism as the dollar was more normally used; this may represent British financial support for the Mexican press in the 1930s.'
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009/10 Oct-April, BM, Revolution on Paper: Mexican Prints, cat 67
2010/11 Nov-Feb, Nottingham, Djanogly Gallery, Revolution on Paper
2011 June-Aug, Newcastle, Hatton Gallery, Revolution on Paper
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number