On View at The Whitney Museum of American Art
February 17 – May 17, 2020
In the early part of the last century, Mexico underwent a radical cultural transformation at the end of its decade-long civil war. By 1920, the country was hungry for a new national identity and the newly established government was quick to commission artists to visually document Mexico’s new era. This ushered in a renaissance of sorts for public art that spoke directly to social justice and national life.
This model galvanized artists in the United States who were seeking to break free of European aesthetic domination to create publicly significant and accessible native art. Numerous American artists traveled to Mexico, and the leading Mexican muralists—José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros—spent extended periods of time in the United States, executing murals, paintings, and prints; exhibiting their work; and interacting with local artists.
Through approximately 200 works by sixty Mexican and American artists, this exhibition reorients art history by revealing the profound impact the Mexican muralists had on their counterparts in the United States during this period and the ways in which their example inspired American artists both to create epic narratives about American history and everyday life and to use their art to protest economic, social, and racial injustices.
This exhibition is organized by Barbara Haskell, curator, with Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator; Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant; and Alana Hernandez, former curatorial project assistant.
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