Just through January 8, 2017, the Philaelphia Museum of Art is presenting a wonderful exhibition of Mexican Art, Painting the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950. The show offers a lot. On display for you to think about are Mexican history, politics, and social-cultural change; the work of larger than life individuals, including artists, politicians, and heros of the people; several different art movements; Communism; Fascism in its many forms; the movement of artists across borders; and more.
Seeing the art makes me want to go back soon to Mexico City. I want to see this art and more of it in the place where it was produced. For example, although the video and film representations of the murals of Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros are very powerful, they leave the viewer wanting to see the "real thing," up close -- wanting to stand in front of the actual murals in the special sites for which they were commissioned.
Particular pieces that I know I will find myself thinking lots more about in the future include three marvelous pieces by Frida Kahlo. One is her first self-portrait that she called her "Botticelli."
Among all the pieces in this room, one that quickly caught my eye and wouldn't let it go was a linocut by the US artist, Elizabeth Catlett. In 1946, Catlett traveled to Mexico to work with the Taller de Grafica Popular (The Workshop for Popular Graphic Art). The philosophy and goals of this group of Mexican artists well-suited Catlett's aim to make art of and for working people. Catlett found in this workshop a safe space, without the prejudices and inequality she faced as an African American woman in the US.