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by Kurt Hollander
About The Book
If you are what you eat, then it would follow that grocery shopping is the way you construct your identity, and that markets and grocery stores are the laboratories in which whole cultures build theirs — as well as an early place to spot changes. This small, chunky and completely charming gift book presents portraits of Mexican consumer products alongside photographs of the supermarkets, stores, markets and street vendors where they are sold. The accompanying text places all this graphically striking raw material in the context of its historical antecedents and contemporary food trends, and considers the situation of locally conceived, designed and distributed products like these in the age of global consumerism. In Mexico traditional design, like the work showcased here, is competing with digital media and work done by international corporate design firms. Culturally specific images are being displaced by global ones, the Virgin of Guadalupe by Disney cartoons, literally changing the face of the food and beverages that Mexicans eat. Mexican industry is holding its own against the onslaught for now, and Mexican products still serve the needs of the vast majority of the country’s population. That is: Mexican products sold in packaging that is less than environmentally friendly, displaying images that are not politically correct, and using ingredients that are banned in other countries still serve their needs. As “El Super” confirms, bad things come in great packages.
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