Alternating Identities: The Figure in Twentieth Century Mexican Art

Begin Date2005-12-27
End Date2006-04-16
CuratorsLisa Jones, William Rudolph
Last Harvested At2022-10-29
OrganizerDallas Museum of Art
DescriptionThe blurring of the Mexican identity began with Spanish colonization (1521-1810), an era that saw more than nineteen million indigenous peoples lose their lives while large numbers of Europeans, Asians, and Africans immigrated to the mostly destroyed Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán (present-day Mexico City). After the country gained its independence in 1821, and especially after its revolution (1910-1917), Mexicans and Mexican artists were able to truly contemplate the effects of this immense cultural and biological fusion. Today the majority of Mexico's population is mestizo, or mixed-race. But the search for its national, cultural, and personal identity that began in the last century continues into this one and has found its greatest expression in depictions of the human figure. While abstraction and nonrepresentational art flourished in the U.S. and Europe, they proved to be short-lived in Mexico. In this exhibition, the human figure takes on several identities and styles. In an attempt to discover what is truly Mexican, some of the artists represent the dignity or exoticism of the surviving native culture. Others are drawn to the harsh realities of the day and the frantic pace of growth in Mexico City. Still others continue to manipulate European traditions or explore personal visions. In the end, the question of Mexican identity remains complex and unresolved, and perhaps can only be more fully understood by looking into the many expressions of its characters.