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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York inaugurated an exhibition of Mexican art that encompasses from the pre-Hispanic era up to and including examples of contemporary art, noteworthy among them the work by painters such as Orozco, Siqueiros, Tamayo, and Montenegro. The author considers that the exhibition may be understood as a synthesis of Mexico’s art history, thus encouraging wider knowledge about the country by the United States society, thus transforming the negative perception it had abroad. 


This article by Lorenzo Franco reveals the objectives behind the outstanding exhibition which signaled the high point of the cultural relations between Mexico and the United States: the show had to prove, above anything else, that Mexico had left behind the violent stage of the revolution and that it was enjoying a period of economic, political, and social development. Art, operating simultaneously as a means to affirm and justify the post-revolutionary regime, would also serve to emphasize that Mexico is a country with a rich cultural past and a promising and peaceful future, a favorable inducement not only for cultural exchange, but also for United States investments in the country, in spite of the recent nationalizations by the Cárdenas government (1934-40). For this reason, it is worth considering the fact that this great exhibition was sponsored by the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores de México [the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs], exactly the year that marked the end of the extremely nationalistic period of General Lázaro Cárdenas (1895-1970). It was meant to emphasize the environment within which the relationship between the two countries should proceed for the next six years, conservative and aligned under President General Manuel Avila Camacho (1940-1946). Finally, the show was organized under the curatorial care of the intellectual historian Manuel Toussaint (1890-1955), as well as the painters Miguel Cobarrubias (1904-1957) and Roberto Montenegro (1885-1968), among others. 

Mireida Velázquez
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional. Mexico D.F., México