Phoenix Art Museum is First to Host Modern Mexican Painting from the Andres Blaistén Collection

4 July 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - Phoenix Art Museum is the first Museum in the country to host Modern Mexican Painting from the Andres Blaistén Collection, a remarkable exhibition of post-revolution Mexican works drawn from one of the premiere private collections of 20th century Mexican art.

Revealing 80 paintings by 45 artists including Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo and José Clemente Orozco, Modern Mexican Painting from the Andres Blaistén Collection presents a visually stunning, definitive look at Mexican art created between 1910 and 1950. The exhibition opened on July 1st and marks the collection’s debut in the United States and the start of a three city tour.

“ Phoenix Art Museum has a long history of studying and celebrating Mexican art. We are very pleased to be the first venue to host this exceptional exhibition, which exposes a monumental time of artistic renaissance in Mexico ,” commented James Ballinger, The Sybil Harrington Director, Phoenix Art Museum . “I have always believed that art is a bridge to understanding other cultures, and Mexico is especially important to Arizona .”

Modern Mexican Painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection captures the artistic transformation that occurred after the Mexican Revolution and the effect modern Mexican art had on the Western hemisphere. Led by Diego Rivera, scores of Mexican artists adopted the styles and methods of artists working in Europe and America , yet found a unique inspiration for subject matter in Mexico ’s ancient and indigenous heritage. The exhibition demonstrates the significance of this period by addressing the following seven themes:

•Avant garde experimentation: Artists such as Diego Rivera and Carlos Merida used a new visual language and introduced Modernism in Mexico .

•National Renaissance: Artists including Fermín Revueltas and Roberto Montenegro drew inspiration from traditional Mexican culture, folk art and an idealized indigenous history.

•Urban artists: Many artists focused on the modern life of the streets, circuses and the workplace, often with strong social criticism as demonstrated by Emilio Baz Viaud and Manuel Rodríguez Lozano.

•Self portraits and portraiture: Following the revolution the diversity of life in Mexico was reflected in portraiture and self portraits as seen in the works by Manuel Gonzalez Serrano and Agustin Lazo.

•Students of the Open Air Schools: During the 1920s the minister of public education created open air schools throughout Mexico focusing on art education for children and teenagers. Open Air students Jesús Escobedo and Gabriel Ledesma went on to have successful artistic careers in the 1930s.

•Still life: Artists such as Rufino Tamayo and María Izquierdo combined indigenous craft with expressionist and symbolist painting styles to illustrate the distinct modernity of Mexican

•Surrealism: Through political upheaval and global turmoil Mexican artists including Carlos Orozco Romero and Antonio Ruiz developed a unique form of surrealism that reflected the psychological anxiety of the time that remains current today.

An installation of modernist Mexican works drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection is on view in conjunction with Modern Mexican Painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection. Featuring a compelling variety of paintings and works on paper by many of the artists featured in Modern Mexican Painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection, the installation brings to light rarely seen works from the Museum’s archive along with Museum favorites such as El Suicido de Dorothy Hale by Frida Kahlo.

“The works on view in the exhibition and installation depict a vivid and emotional portrait of Mexico ’s heritage. This is an opportunity for the Museum to enhance the community’s appreciation of Mexico ’s artistic past, the unique qualities of its artists, the relationship of Mexican art to international art movements and the period’s influence on the art of today,” commented Ballinger.

Modern Mexican Painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection is on view July 1 through September 25, 2011 in Phoenix Art Museum ’s Steele Gallery. The exhibition is organized by Phoenix Art Museum , the San Diego Museum of Art and the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in conjunction with the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in Mexico City where the collection is permanently housed.

Modern Mexican Painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection will travel to San Diego Museum of Art November 5, 2011 through February 19, 2012 and The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in 2012. The participating institutions have collaborated to create a 200 page, full-color illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition.


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