Celebrating Oil
pM5_en.jpg Curated by Alfonso Morales

Based on the notion of time as a social institution, Alfonso Morales proposes the existence of a “Mexican time”, whose calendar has more memorable days to honor saints and virgins as well as national heroes, compadres [godparents], mothers, and even tacos; in other words, to commemorate collective identity.

After this initial chapter, what follow are aimed at a historical review of the oil industry in Mexico. They go from the first years of the twentieth century —with its exploitation in the hands of foreign companies— to the nationalizationof petroleum, decreed by President Lázaro Cárdenas in 1938, that gave rise to the stateowned Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). The curator’s well-documented text recalls political scenarios and the social atmosphere of those years to then contextualize the fiftieth anniversary of Pemex and how it came to be that Pedro Meyer —hired in 1987 to do a photo exhibition and a book (entitled Los cohetes duraron todo el día [The Skyrockets Lasted All Day])— built an iconographic discourse “loath to facile or demagogic enthusiasm” that, together with “the anti-Cardenist obsession of the president-elect,” led to the disappearance of the publication.

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