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"Vibrant Colours and the Passion of Mexican Modern Art"
1999-11-04 until 2000-02-06
Montreal Museum of Fine Art
Montreal, QU, CA Canada

From November 4, 1999, to February 6, 2000, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting an outstanding selection of some two hundred works created by forty Mexican artists between 1900 and 1950. Mexican Modern Art, 1900-1950 is the first exhibition in Canada on modern Mexican art since 1943.

For the past seventy-five years, the understanding and appreciation of Mexican art have focussed primarily on the murals, particularly those by Los Tres Grandes: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and José David Alfaro Siqueiros. Although the murals' importance is undeniable, there is much more to twentieth-century Mexican art. The exhibition's aim is to show the scope and development of Mexican modern art in the first half of the twentieth century, when the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath inspired overlapping generations of creators in various realms. The exhibition illustrates this renaissance of the arts with a wide-ranging panorama of Mexican artworks from 1900 to 1950 - next to two hundred paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs by Orozco, Siqueiros, Kahlo, Tamayo, Izquierdo, Ruiz and their contemporaries. The influence of avant-garde Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Abstract Expressionism is readily apparent in this art that is deeply rooted in Pre-Columbian and Amerindian cultures. The exhibition is divided into four parts. First is Early Modernism: Art between Cosmopolitan and Nationalistic Trends, 1900-1920, which describes the situation of the visual arts in Mexico at the beginning of the century, while they were undergoing the influence of the major European art movements. The second part, The Mexican Renaissance: Art in Post-revolutionary Times, 1921-1934, deals with the muralists' vital contribution to modern Mexican culture as well as with the most prominent artists of the time. Then, Images of a New Era: Modern Photography and the Revival of the Lithographic Tradition shows how photography and printmaking also influenced Mexican modernism. The exhibition concludes with The 'Mexican' Style: The Continuity of Mexican Modernism, 1935-1950, which provides a view of the artistic plurality and diversity of these years. A varied activities programme highlighting various aspects of Mexican culture is being planned by the Museum for the fall. A catalogue will be published in separate English and French editions, with all the exhibited works reproduced in full colour. The works in the exhibition come from public and private collections in the United States and Mexico. Among the lenders are the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Instituto nacional de Bellas Artes. The exhibition Mexican Modern Art, 1900-1950 is a joint project of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, where it will be presented after Montreal. The guest curator of the exhibition is Mexican art historian and curator Luís-Martín Lozano. Nathalie Bondil-Poupard and Stéphane Aquin, curators at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, will be in charge of the Montreal presentation. A parallel selection of contemporary Mexican art will be presented exclusively in Montreal.


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