Mexico - A Revolution in Art 1910-1940 at Royal Academy of Arts

by FrancesSpiegel

Mexico - A Revolution in Art explores relationship between political and artistic revolution in Mexico in the years between 1910 and 1940.

The Royal Academy of Arts presents Mexico - A Revolution in Art 1910-1940. The display explores Mexico's artistic revolution in relation to the political revolution that took place in the first half of the twentieth century. The exhibition examines government-sponsored public art schemes as well as scenes of every day life recorded by native artists and the many visitors attracted to the country searching for adventure, excitement and opportunity. Highlights include paintings by key figures such as Diego Rivera, Roberto Montenegro and José Clemente Orozco as well as photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson and many others.

Diego Rivera, Dance in Tehuantepec (Baile in Tehuantepec), 1928 Oil on canvas, 200.7 x 163.8 cm

Collection of Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr. Photo Collection of Clarissa and Edgar Brontman Jr., courtesy of Sotheby's, New York / © 2013 Banco de Mexico Die
Diego Rivera Dance in Tehuantepec (Baile in Tehuantepec), 1928
Diego Rivera Dance in Tehuantepec (Ba...
Collection of Clarissa and Edgar Bron...

The Old Regime Was Swept Away

In the early years of the twentieth century Mexico experienced a period of intense political and social change. The old regime was swept away and a new, socialist order rose to prominence.

 

As part of the revival the Mexican government sponsored an extraordinary programme of high profile public art murals expressing the spirit of the Revolution and Mexican society.

Artists such as Diego Rivera, Roberto Montenegro, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros were commissioned to carry out the project.

 

Mexico Attracted Artists Seeking Adventure

The world watched as Mexico re-invented itself, attracting numerous painters, journalists, photographers and printmakers from around the world including Josef Albers, Philip Guston, Edward Burra, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti and others. Mexico was seen as the place to go for adventure and opportunity.

 

Mexico - A Revolution in Art brings together a substantial number of photographs, prints, drawings and paintings to show how political upheaval gave birth to this vibrant revolution in art.

Edward Burra, El Paseo, c. 1938 Watercolour on paper, 133.3 x 111.8 cm

Private collection Photo Private collection /© Estate of the artist, c/o Lefevre Fine Art Ltd
Edward Burra  El Paseo, c. 1938  Watercolour on paper, 133.3 x 111.8 cm
Edward Burra El Paseo, c. 1938 Wate...

Highlights of the Exhibition

 

The exhibition is arranged chronologically with sections titled:

  • Mexico in Flames: 1910-20 - The Porfiriato and the Revolution
  • The Return of the Native: 1921-28
  • The Clash of Sun and Shadow: 1929-34
  • Unadulterated Artistic Creation: 1935-40 

Highlights include Mayan Women (Mujeres mayas) 1926 by Roberto Montenegro; Edward Burra's El Paseo, (c. 1938), and Dance in Tehuantepec (Baile in Tehuantepec, 1928) by Diego Rivera. The display also features numerous photographs by artists such as Tina Modotti, Edward Weston and Henri Cartier-Bresson as well as prints by José Guadelupe Posada, Emiliano Zapata and others.

Roberto Montenegro, Mayan Women, 1926 Oil on canvas, 80 x 69.8 cm

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1941 Photo © 2013. Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence
Roberto Montenegro, Mayan Women, 1926  Oil on canvas, 80 x 69.8 cm
Roberto Montenegro, Mayan Women, 1926...
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. G...

A Revolution in Art - Organisation and Sponsorship

The installation has been curated by Adrian Locke, exhibitions curator at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The Academy is grateful to JTI, the 2009-2013 Season supporter of exhibitions; Conaculta; Visit Mexico; Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, and Sectur, the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation. Without the generous support of these organisations exhibitions such as this simply could not happen.

Tina Modotti, Workers Reading El Machete, c.1929 Platinum print, 7.92 x 10.46 cm

Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc. Photo courtesy by Throckmorton Fine Art Inc., New York
Tina Modotti  Workers Reading El Machete, c.1929  Platinum print, 7.92 x 10.46 cm
Tina Modotti Workers Reading El Mach...
Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc. Photo co...

Visit the Exhibition

 

Mexico - A Revolution in Art will be open at the Royal Academy of Arts from 6th July to 29th September 2013. The show is accompanied by a highly informative publication featuring texts by Adrian Locke together with fabulous reproductions of all the items appearing in the exhibition. Tickets and further information can be obtained from the Royal Academy of Arts.

 

Royal Academy of Arts, London W1J OBD

Mexico - Travel Guides

Updated: 11/10/2013, FrancesSpiegel
 
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FrancesSpiegel on 07/09/2013

Thanks for reading. The exhibition is amazing and for a really great day out you could see the Royal Academy Summer Show as well. The two exhibitions would probably need a good few hours to really appreciate them.

MikeRobbers on 07/09/2013

Excellent article on a very interesting exhibition. Thanks for sharing, Frances

FrancesSpiegel on 07/05/2013

Thanks for reading and especially for your kind comments.

EliasZanetti on 07/05/2013

Quite an interesting exhibition and a visually beautiful article.

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