Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940
6 July – 29 September 2013
Celebrating the explosion of creativity in Mexico during the early 20th century, this exhibition reveals the cultural renaissance brought about by the Mexican revolution.
Between 1910 and 1920, Mexico underwent an era of profound political and social upheaval. Revolution and civil war destroyed the old order and a new, socialist regime emerged.
At its centre was a group of art activists lead by the charismatic painter Diego Rivera, who returned from Bohemian Paris to be part of the government-sponsored Mexican mural program. Including artists José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo, the group painted a number of high profile frescoes depicting Mexican society and the spirit of the Revolution.
This exhibition features work by the Mexican painters together with work by artists who travelled to Mexico to witness this turbulent cultural environment, including Josef Albers, Philip Guston, Edward Burra and Tina Modotti.
Like Rivera, the artist Roberto Montenegro had studied in Europe, returning to Mexico after the Revolution. His painting Maya Women, made in 1926, combines his interest in French Surrealism with a deliberately naïve folk-art style.
Also on show is a self-portrait by Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo and photographs by Robert Capa, who was sent to Mexico to cover the upheavals that took place after the revolution. ‘Women in truck with banners supporting presidential candidacy of General Manuel Avila Camacho, Mexico City, June–July 1940’ is one of a number of photographs taken covering the country’s general election in 1940.