IDENTITY AND REVOLUTION is on view at Throckmorton Fine Art in New York through February 29, 2020.
In a revolt against dictator Porfirio Diaz, the demand for agrarian reform signaled a new age in Mexican society. As Civil War raged in Mexico from 1910-1920, the people of Mexico expressed their belief that the land should be in the hands of the laborers who worked the land. The Mexican people also cried out for universal public education and health care, as well as broader civil liberties.
At the end of the Revolution, the government commissioned artists to create art that helped to educate the mostly illiterate masses about Mexican history. The plan was to spark the Mexican people to craft the nation’s history in a way that helped define Mexican identity after the Revolution.
The images featured non-European heroes from Mexico’s illustrious past, present and future – Aztec warriors battling the Spanish, humble peasants fighting in the Revolution, common laborers of Mexico City, and the mixed-race people rising to dominate the next decades.
The Mexican Revolution marked a true break from the past, launching a more egalitarian age on a grand scale. The muralists reoriented history, uncovered lost stories and created a new narrative that can still be seen publicly in Mexico and beyond.
Spencer Throckmorton says, “Three artists are especially well known known for the way they expressed themselves through murals. Known as Los Tres Grandes they include David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. While murals are generally defined as any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent structure, mural painting characteristically includes architectural elements of the given space incorporated into the picture.
“We are fortunate to have on view a collection of more than a dozen photographs by Tina Modotti of important murals created by Diego Rivera. He is well known for his murals of Mexican workers, miners and laborers created during the 1920s and 1930s.
Among highlights are murals from the Ministry of Education and National Palace including “Revolutionary Workers, Peasants and Soldiers Laughing (1928) and the “Festival of the Flowers.” A photograph from World Wide Photo dating to 1933 depicts the mural Rivera created for the Detroit Institute of Art.”
The Throckmorton MURALISM show includes photographs of Diego Rivera by Bernard Silberstein, Edward Weston’s “Tina Reciting,” Guillermo Zamora’s 1946 portrait of David Alfaro Siqueiros, Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s 1928-29 “Pair of Legs,” and his 1931 “Optic Parable.”
Other highlights of the show also include Hector Garcia’s 1945 portrait of Jose Clemente Orozco and a 1940 photograph by Garcia of Diego Rivera, Florence Aguin’s 1951 portrait of Frida Kahlo, Lucienne Bloch’s 1933 photo of “Frida in Front of Unity Panel,” Lola Alvarez Bravo’s 1942 “Judas,” Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s 1930s “Horse in Display Window” and Tina Modotti’s 1927 “Sickle, Bandolier and Guitar.”