Mexico: Multiple Modernities

Mexico: Multiple Modernities

Several groups of artists with diverse interests co-existed in Mexico City from the 1920s to the 1950s, contributing to create a vibrant and complex art scene. The leading artists came of age during Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and pursued an art of political commitment through mural painting and graphic arts. Women had also come into their own during the Revolution, not only transforming traditional gender roles, but also making a significant contribution to the visual arts. A group of female European expatriates with links to Surrealism further solidified the creative role of women in Mexican society.

Image of lithograph depicting Zapata on horseback.

Art and Politics

Mexican artists experienced the Mexican Revolution in different ways, ranging from being direct participants to distant observers. During the post-revolutionary period, it became clear that many socio-economic inequalities still remained, which encouraged painters and printmakers to be politically involved and produce revolutionary art.
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Black-and-white linocut depicting human figures of various sizes

The Graphic Art Renaissance

Mexico had a strong printmaking tradition which enjoyed a renaissance during the post-revolutionary period. Woodcuts, linocuts, and lithographs provided an affordable platform to experiment with avant-garde forms, disseminate political ideas at home and abroad, and work in cooperative ways.
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Image of a dancing woman wearing a tutu standing on point on the back of a white horse

Changing Gender Roles

Many women fought side-by-side with the men in the Mexican Revolution, challenging traditional gender roles. During the post-revolutionary period, this trend continued through an increased participation of women in public life and professional circles, including the visual arts.
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Abstract image of stem-and-leaf-like images with white lines on a black background. Elements of red and green throughout.

Surrealism and Mexico

After the Spanish Civil War and World War II began, several European artists and writers arrived in Mexico as refugees, and some decided to stay. Among them were women with links to the surrealist movement, who developed their painting fully after they settled in Mexico City.
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