Enrique Chagoya’s The Headache – Gone from Rosenbach, now at The Print Center

Chicano artist Enrique Chagoya was in Philadelphia making a new print for Philagrafika, one that updates the 19th Century print, "The Headache" with 20th Century political commentary about President Obama's headache passing his health care reform bill. Great pictures of the original print (from the Rosenbach Museum collection) and Chagoya's update in the post. Pick up a free copy of a black and white copy of the print at The Print Center.

Enrique Chagoya spent months working with Cindy Etinger’s studio and Silicon Fine Art Prints to make “The Headache,” a complicated multi-process digital print which is part of the Philagrafika festival. Chagoya’s print — a social commentary about President Obama and his health care headaches — is based on a work owned by the Rosenbach Museum and Library, a print called The Headache by 19th Century caricaturist, illustrator and social satirist George Cruickshank.

Print of man with tiny devils hammering on his head.
The Head Ache, a print after George Cruikshank by Enrique Chagoya

Chagoya, who was born in Mexico, educated in the US and now teaches at Stanford, was in residence at Rosenbach where he selected from among their vast holdings of Cruickshank’s works to make one piece that reflects his take on the current discussion about health care reform.

Print of man surrounded by tiny devils hammering on his head.
The Head Ache by George Cruikshank (detail)

A small exhibit of works by Chagoya and his 19th Century counterpart Cruickshank was on view briefly in February at the Rosenbach where, over one weekend, the public was invited to come in, take a look, hear the artist speak about his work, and participate in a watercolor workshop to hand-color a black and white offset print version of Chagoya’s The Headache.  I picked up the offset print, a great giveaway, and took it home thinking well I may or I may not color it in.  It’s pretty great just as it is.  I gave it to Stella who is also unsure if she will color it in or leave it black and white.

Print in black and white of man surrounded by tiny devils hammering on his head.
Black and white offset print of Enrique Chagoya’s The Headache, available at The Print Center where you can pick one up to bring home and hand color if you wish.

The fragile Cruickshank works are now back in the Rosenbach archives but I’m told if you want you can make an appointment to see them by calling Elizabeth Fuller at the Museum at 215-732-1600, ext 115.  And good news for those of you who like giveaways,  the Print Center has a pile of the black and white Chagoya prints  — available free — in the gift shop.

The Chagoya residency at Rosenbach is another example — like those of Duke Riley at the Historical Society and Pablo Helguera at the Penn Museum — of how Philagrafika has made some great new work happen here that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.