6/9/2017 3:22 PM
This June the ICAA celebrates the opening of Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950, the most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican modernism to be shown in the United States in more than seven decades. Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in partnership with the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the show offers a deep look at the forces that shaped modern art in Mexico from the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 to the aftermath of World War II. The exhibition tells the story of this exhilarating period through a remarkable range of images, from masterpieces by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo to transfixing works by their contemporaries Dr. Atl, María Izquierdo, Roberto Montenegro, Carlos Mérida, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and others whose diversity of themes and styles coexisted with the highly politicized Mexican muralism movement.
The show’s name was inspired by an impassioned essay by the American novelist John Dos Passos, who saw Mexico’s revolutionary murals during a visit to Mexico City during 1926 and 1927. Dos Passos saw the mural movement of Mexico as an example of art with a function. In his essay, “Paint the Revolution!” published in New Masses magazine, Dos Passos cited Rivera’s “attempts to bring meaning of the Revolution directly to the people through his mural” (an important task since so many of the people who needed to be reached could not read). For Dos Passos, murals were educational as they helped to teach the population about its own history, and in that way were not merely decoration but rather a valuable tool to enrich the society.
Paint the Revolution will be on view in Houston from June 25 to October 1, 2017. To read more about the Mexican muralist movement please visit the ICAA’s shared collection.