Art and politics

Mexico: multiple modernities

CHAPTER 2: Art and politics

Mexican artists experienced the devastating armed conflict known as the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) in different ways, ranging from being direct participants to distant observers. During the post-revolutionary period (from the 1920s to the 1940s), it became clear that many socio-economic inequalities still remained, which encouraged painters and printmakers to be politically involved and produce revolutionary art. Artists such as Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros led a state-sponsored movement tasked with formulating a new public image of the Mexican nation through mural paintings. Muralism emerged as one of the most influential art movements in the Americas, assuring its leaders, known as “Los Tres Grandes” [The Three Great Ones], important commissions in Mexico and the United States. The latter included a series of lithographs for the Weyhe Gallery in New York, which helped introduce the work of the Mexican muralists to the U.S. public.

Image credit:
José Chávez Morado
La conspiración [Conspiracy], from the portfolio Vida nocturna de la ciudad de México [Mexico City’s Nightlife], 1936 (detail)
The Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin
University purchase, 1966; Transfer from the Harry Ransom Center, 1982

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