Collection: Mexican art collection

During the 1980s, many artists living in Mexico began to seek new alternatives to the forms of expression that had dominated Mexican art of the 1960s and 1970s, especially international trends such as abstraction. A number of painters sought to evoke dream-like fantasy in their art, creating vibrant and symbolic images which often integrated traditional elements of Mexican iconography. Principal among these artists was a re-interpretation of Mexican identity, as well as the intense inward scrutiny of the artists’ individuality. Issues of gender –i.e., feminism and personal solutions to the socio-political role of the artists in a developing nation, were manifested in much of the work during this intense period.

Today, thanks to dynamic artists, galleries and patrons and the globalization of the world art scene, contemporary Mexican art is reaching galleries the world over. Mexico City has become an international art hot spot, while other cities such as Monterrey, Oaxaca, Mazatlán and Guadalajara also have thriving art scenes. Mexican artists attempt to interpret the uncertainties of the 21st century in diverse ways. The pendulum has swung away from abstraction to hyper-representation, photorealism, installations, video and street art.

No discussion of culture in Mexico City is complete without mention of its museums: there are more than 150 in total, surpassing every city on Earth, bar London. The National Museum of Anthropology is a must for any visitor, though the biggest change on the landscape has been the recent building of new art museums. The standouts from the past dozen years include the Soumaya Museum (showing the collection of Mexican telecoms magnate Carlos Slim); the Jumex Museum (housing the art of businessman Eugenio López Alonso); and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo (MUAC), with its collection of mainly Mexican art from 1952 onwards. 

‘Mexico is a large, highly centralised nation — and the capital is its stage,’ says Minerva Cuevas, an artist born and bred in Mexico City. ‘People from the rest of the country flock here for work, so public space is constantly being negotiated’. It is also a young city: the average age of its citizens is 26, meaning there should be no lack of creative energy to maintain a thriving cultural scene. ‘That’s absolutely crucial,’ says Gabriela Lobo, Managing Director of Christie’s Mexico. ‘The scene here is vibrant and youthful, with lots of artists, buyers and sellers all still in their twenties. As impressive as things are currently, in many ways it’s just planting the seed for an even more impressive future.’

Jose Luis Cuevas, Rufino Tamayo, and Francisco Toledo are fine examples of the new sensibility. These later artists have kept alive Mexico’s reputation for excellence in the graphic arts. A common Mexican trait on either side of the U.S.–Mexico border is the passionate interest in Mexicanidad (Mexicanness) and what comprises Mexican identity. Perhaps this obsession to understand the concept of Mexicanidad comes from nearly five centuries of mestizaje – the interracial and cultural mixing that first occurred in Mesoamerica among Native Indigenous groups, European Spanish and enslaved Africans during the 1520s. By the 18th century, Mexican identity had developed. Mestizaje was the process that constructed it. The museum’s permanent collection showcases the dynamic and distinct Mexican stories in North America, and sheds light on why Mexican identity cannot be regarded as singular; its vast diversity defies any notion of one linear history.

Nuestras Historias destaca la colección permanente del museo, la cual expone las historias dinámicas y diversas de la identidad mexicana en Norteamérica. La exhibición muestra la identidad cultural como algo que evoluciona continuamente a través del tiempo, de regiones y de comunidades,  en vez de señalarla como una entidad estática e inmutable, exhibiendo para esto, artefactos mesoamericanos y coloniales, arte moderno mexicano, arte popular, y arte contemporáneo de los dos lados de la frontera EE.UU-México.  La gran diversidad de identidades mexicanas mostradas en estas obras desafía la noción de una sola historia lineal e identidad única. 

 

Mexico has the oldest printmaking tradition in Latin America. The first presses were established there in the 16th mainly to print devotional images for religious institutions. Because of their ephemeral nature, few of these early impressions survive. A rare early exception is a 1756 thesis proclamation printed on silk presented by a candidate for a degree in medicine. With the introduction of lithography to Mexico in the nineteenth century, printmaking and publishing greatly expanded, and artists became recognized for the character of their work. José Guadalupe Posada (1851–1913) is often regarded as the father of Mexican printmaking. His best-known prints are of skeletons (calaveras) published on brightly colored paper as broadsides that address topical issues and current events, love and romance, stories, popular songs, and other themes. Posada demonstrated how effective prints were for creating a visual language that everyone could understand and enjoy. In the early twentieth century, their example had a profound impact on artists who, in response to the turbulent political climate and social unrest, were similarly eager to reach broad audiences.

 

We have assembled this collection over a period of more than 20 years. The vast majority of the MLA Gallery works are by artists who's work we are very passionate about. Feel free to inquire for detailed bios, CV's and more information about this work, or a specific artist. 

Though we have some work in the gallery that may not be seen here, this is the bulk of the collection. 

MLA Gallery offers exceptional customer service and enjoys an outstanding reputation (please see our feedback on Google, Yelp, or Facebook). We have been around for 20 years, with a brick and mortar gallery near downtown Los Angeles. We always guarantee your satisfaction with the any work in the gallery, or your money back.

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