Contemporary Art in Mexico

Some years ago a friend of mine told me she was visually exhausted after her first trip to Mexico. Far from offensive, her confession was of gratitude to life... few days after she started painting.

Some years ago a friend of mine told me she was visually exhausted after her first trip to Mexico. Far from offensive, her confession was of gratitude to life... few days after she started painting.

It is natural that there are so many people capturing light in visual arts in a land with exceptional color profusion. Thus, if we talk about contemporary art in Mexico, we have to talk long and especially about painting. In our days Mexican visual arts are alive and kicking, showing us there is art after Frida Khalo.

After the post-revolution Muralism, there came the break-off generation proposing a more individual and non nationalist art. Painters such as Jose Luis Cuevas exploring volume distortion with economy of color in order to represent social perceptions, and Rufino Tamayo who rescues the purity of color and texture and mixes it with cubist compositions, are representative from this generation.

In the 70’s some tourists with artistic curiosity discovered the naive style of Rodolfo Morales by the mountains of Oaxaca, telling folkloric stories with the characteristic Mexican sense of color. Fore some people these paintings are the deepest expression of the Mexican spirit, however the simplicity of the technique was easily copied. In few years the art market was invaded with this kind of works, as if they were handicraft, provoking the devaluation of real works of art.

With this unpleasant experience the new generation painters bet for more freedom at choosing their topic, technique and material, as well as a wider artistic commitment. Mexican visual arts seem less "Mexican" but more universal. Rafael Cauduro for example, offers an open social critic with the impermanence as scale. Master Toledo bets for a naturalist vision without modesty, far from traditionalism. Gullermo Olguin takes us to the prehistoric origin of visual art in a mass psychology study.

Although the most part of the production seems to come from Oaxaca, some even call it the Mexican contemporary art Mecca, we can find valuable visual executions with fresh and interesting proposals, even in unusual places such as Cancun where Leon Alva portraits the ever-changing face of the human kind, or Tijuana where Miguel Najera seduces with a static movement.

Get your eyes ready! your next visit to Mexico could change the way you see the world.