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Vea Viva! Rare Mexican Pinups from the 1950s by Niuglo and others Vintage Sleaze Caliente!





VEA is a pretty hard magazine to find copies of these days.   Vea ran in the 1940s and 1950s, and when you figure in acid-based paper, climate and censorship, you’ll know why they don’t turn up often. Do not confuse it with Vea the Puerto Rican gossip magazine, or Vea which came from Chile.  Search hard and you will see a few issues on Fred Seibert’s flickr stream, but that’s about it.  I found a handful  to purchase recently, and I wish I had them all.  If I were opening a Mexican restaurant, I’d cover the walls with them.  Under glass.
VEA was a weekly pulp periodical which ran for years but was apparently often in trouble with the law, largely due to Niuglo’s spicy muchachas.  The magazine was a menudo of news, bullfighting reports, pulp fiction (with illustrations that look like Charles Burns on peyote) and breasts, which is where Nuiglo comes in.  There is really nothing to compare the magazine to in the states then or now, but it was similar to the Folies De Paris et de Holllywood magazine from France which was running the same time.  Some of the Harrison mags like Whisper maybe.  Large format, large on style and striking today.
 
Flipping through them makes me think it is time for a 1950s Mexican revival.  The best reason to find some VEA is the pioneer Mexican fashion and glamour photographer known only (but not known WELL) as NIUGLO.  Niuglo’s photos were so good they often graced front and back cover simultaneous in vibrant candy colors, but the ones inside were printed in burnt sienna brown.  There was frontal nudity, a considerable amount…but nothing below the waist.
Scarce and forgotten, but someone is paying attention.

Bright scholar Ageeth Sluis recently wrote “Projecting Pornography and Mapping Modernity in Mexico City” for the Journal of Urban History which drew upon the images in VEA.   A portion of the abstract reads:  By analyzing depictions of female nudity as conversant with urban landscapes in the banned magazine Vea, the author argues that pornography connected Mexico City to transnational ideas of the early twentieth century that held that sexually liberated women were part and parcel of cosmopolitan modernity. Vea exemplified and fueled concerns over “public women” and helps scholars understand larger debates on the gendered effects of revolution, urbanization, and transnational currents of global modernity.  NICE!
I’ve put in a note to Ms Sluis, and if additional information results I’ll be glad to add it.
Even better,  an outstanding set of original negatives of erotic images which have been attributed to Niuglo were discovered in 1996 and recently exhibited in 2002 by photographer Merrick Morton at the Fototeka Gallery in Los Angeles.  Attributed might be too strong a word, as it was speculation, and there were several other “house” photographers doing the pinup photography for VEA.  Selected images of this cache were printed in editons and sold.  The certainly have the look, and they look wonderful.
I am afraid that is all I can provide here about VEA.  As I learn more, it will appear.

A future post will include some striking images from inside the magazine.  There are considerable pinup layouts, cartoons, and even, believe it or now, a Bill Wenzel gag cartoon on the inside back cover!  I swear…was there NOT a publication he sold work to?
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Original Issues Vea Magazine 1954 – 1955 Collection Jim Linderman 


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