Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: Tattooed Museum Walls

Museums in Oaxaca don’t shy away from exhibiting edgy work, and a show linking Dr. Lakra and Toño Camuñas at Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños proves no exception.

The tattoos on the bodies of both artists seem to spill onto their works on the walls. The comic-book-like drawings of Camuñas easily could be labeled pornographic. Dr. Lakra, née Jerónimo López Ramírez, began his career as a tattoo artist. His upward trajectory has included solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston and The Drawing Center in New York City, where statue-topped pedestals dominating the exhibit in Oaxaca emerged.

Covering Lakra’s 2011 show for The New York Times, Carol Kino wrote:

“Lakra is a much more complex artist than people realize,” said his longtime art dealer and friend Jose Kuri, a partner in the Mexico City gallery Kurimanzutto. “It’s very easy to pigeonhole him as a tattoo artist who entered the art world with these tattoos on vintage magazines. But he’s really well-educated in classical painting and anthropology.”

… Born in Mexico City as Jerónimo López Ramírez, Dr. Lakra is the eldest son of the anthropologist and poet Elisa Ramírez Castañeda and the painter Francisco Toledo, one of Mexico’s towering cultural figures. (Mr. Toledo has had a hand in founding just about every cultural institution in his native Oaxaca.)

Dr. Lakra and his older sister, the conceptual artist Laureana Toledo, spent their childhood travelling around the world and continued visiting their father wherever he was living — New York, Paris, Barcelona — after their parents divorced in 1980. “My father took us to many, many museums,” Dr. Lakra said.

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