Adding to the astronomical number of works on the informal list of Art You Must See in Paris, the largest exhibition of Mexican art to take place in 60 years opened October 5 at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. Featuring over 200 pieces of art from the likes of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, the exhibition–titled Mexique (1900-1950). Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco et les Avant-Gardes–is the biggest showcase of Mexican art since 1953, according to Remezcla.
Mexique’s focus goes beyond that of showcasing works by the two best-known Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera–though there’s plenty of work by the two throughout the exhibition. And, as Agustín Arteaga (previously worked at the Museo Nacional de Arte en Mexico City) told El País, the exhibition isn’t trying to diminish their work as much as it is “do[ing] away with cliches and deepen[ing] the reality of Mexican art, beyond the shadow of those titans, who have hidden various generations of artists.” So, rather, the exhibition seeks to display the works of artists who are often overshadowed by Kahlo and Rivera and extend the definition of “Mexican art” beyond the Kahlo and Rivera mystique.
Featured artists range from bigger names like Rufino Tamayo and José Clemente Orozco to lesser-known artists like Dolores Olmedo, Tina Modotti, Rosa Rolanda, and Lola Álvarez. The latter are part of the exhibition’s focus on women artists in Mexico working between 1900 and 1950–a group of artists often forgotten in the wake of other Mexican art. In addition, the exhibition’s focus also lies in Mexico’s avant-garde artists, whose contributions are also sometimes shelved in favor of covering the Big Two.
Take a look at this video on the exhibition from the Grand Palais. Note how it balances recognizable works by Kahlo and Rivera with their historical context–as well as works by their contemporaries–to highlight the exhibition’s wide focus.
Remezcla notes that the exhibition, taking place in Paris, comes as a result of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and French President François Hollande’s 2014 talks to establish better relations between France and Mexico. Whether or not the exhibition is a direct or indirect result, it’s still managed to grab headlines as the biggest exhibit of its kind in 60 years–a milestone, regardless of politics. Mexique will run through January 23.
Remezcla also has a great piece on how Frida Kahlo’s image and images of her works are used today–and how these uses might go against what Kahlo was trying to achieve as an artist. Read more about that on Remezcla’s site and be sure to check out their other pieces as well!
Interested in what we do here at the Art Docent Program? Find out more about what we do here.
Want more art news? There’s loads more in our past blog posts.