The Real Story of the Superheroes

Dulce Pinzón
The Real Story of the Superheroes

Dulce Pinzón, Mr. Elastic -- Sergio García from the State of Mexico. Works as a waiter in New York. He sends 350 dollars a week. from the series The Real Story of the Superheroes, 2006, Color photograph, 15 3/4 in. x 16 in. (40 cm x 40.6 cm), Gift of Elizabeth Ferrer (Class of 1980) 2018.288 (above)

Dulce Pinzón, (b. 1974 Mexico City, Mexico), The Real Story of the Superheroes, 2012, Artist’s book with 12 photographs, 16 3/4 in. x 18 in. (42.5 cm x 45.7 cm), Museum purchase, The Dorothy Johnston Towne (Class of 1923) Fund 2020.3

The Davis Museum recently purchased The Real Story of the Superheroes, an artist’s book with twelve photographs by Dulce Pinzón. The work was acquired in honor of the Friends of Art Patrons Trip to Mexico in November 2019, during which the group visited the artist at her contemporary art space, Art Base, in Puebla. A much-lauded and widely-exhibited series created in the early 2000s, The Real Story of the Superheroes features color photographs of Mexican and Latinx immigrants wearing superhero costumes and posing—often in carefully produced setups—in different sites in New York City, from a laundromat to the subway.

In her description of The Real Story of the Superheroes, Pinzón explains: “The Mexican immigrant worker in New York is a perfect example of the hero who has gone unnoticed. It is common for a Mexican worker in New York to work extraordinary hours in extreme conditions for very low wages which are saved at great cost and sacrifice and sent to families and communities in Mexico who rely on them to survive. …. The principal objective of this series is to pay homage to these brave and determined men and women that somehow manage, without the help of any supernatural power, to withstand extreme conditions of labor in order to help their families and communities survive and prosper.” Inspired by the Farm Security Administration photographs of workers during the United States New Deal in the 1930s and 1940s, Pinzón titled each work with the name of the fictional hero, the name of the worker, their profession, where they are from, how long they have lived in New York, and the amount of money that they send home. The photographs elevate the heroic acts of people who are too often overlooked, and further deepen the Davis Museum’s extensive holdings of photographs that engage with the theme of labor.