Nuestras Historias: Modern Contemporary Mexico (and Prints)

By National Museum of Mexican Art

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. 

Fire by Mariana YampolskyNational Museum of Mexican Art

A twenty-year period of social reform followed the devastation of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). During this time, political propaganda and culture blended. Art and history became tools for constructing a national, modern Mexican identity. With a national mandate, the arts flourished. Art and culture were deemed crucial to unite a people and became part of the lives of all ordinary Mexicans.By the 1980s, a new generation of artists known as Neo-Mexicanists reevaluated the country’s official historic narrative and its close alignment to Modern Art objectives. The generation born around the1968 Student Massacre at Tlatelolco had a very different understanding of Mexicanidad (Mexican-ness) than the officially recognized version, and therefore created work that cleverly revealed their nation in crisis.

Nuestra senora de las iguanas, Graciela Iturbide, 1979, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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The Swamp Cleaner, from the PEMEX Series, Sánchez Magallanes, Tabasco, Mexico, Pedro Meyer, 1987, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Chichen Itzá Relief (Relieve de Chichen Itzá), Jean (Louis Henri Jean) Charlot, 1927, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Building the Pyramids (Construyendo las pirámides), Jean Charlot, 1933, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Building the Pyramids (Construyendo las pirámides), Jean Charlot, 1933, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Sin titulo (madre banando a su hijo), (Louis Henri) Jean Charlot, 1933, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Untitled (Man with two bueyes), Mardonio Magana, 1938, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Untitled (Man Carrying Pots), Mardonio Magana, 1938, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Mother and Son (Madre y Hijo), Philip Stein (Estano), 1952, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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They Ask for the Catch (Piden pescado), Manuel Felguerez Barra, 1966, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Cosmic Energy 4 (Energía cosmica 4), Leonardo Nierman, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Yellow - Green - Blue (Amarillo – Verde – Azul), Gunther Gerzso (Wendland), 1984, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Ofrenda de muertos (Alter for the Dead), Olga Costa (Kostakovsky), 1965/1967, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Mystical Woman (Mujer mistica), Rodolfo Morales, 1990, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Tres cara tiene el gato, Maximino Javier, 1982, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Muse in Oaxaca (Musa en Oaxaca), Alejandro Nava, 1997, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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The Swing (El columpio), Alejandro Nava, 1990, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Tulyehualco, La Carbonera, Rafael Coronel, 1973, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Flowered Boy (Niño florido), Lucia Maya, 1988, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Broken Dreams (Los sueños rotos), Rocio Caballero, 2009, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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I Guess I Still Think of Myself as a Killer (Supongo que todavia me pienso un asesino), Juan Carlos Macias Islas, 2007, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Fragments (Fragmentos), Renato Esquivel Romero, 2006, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Reunion - Mujer Sentada (Reunion - Seated Woman), David J. Siqueiros (born Alfaro), 1968, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Voz heróica (Heroic Voice), David J. Siqueiros (born Alfaro), 1970, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Emiliano Zapata, Sarah Jimenez Vernis, 1940, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Braceros Waiting for a Contract to Go to the U.S. (Braceros esperando la contratación para ir a los E.U.), Alfredo Zalce, 1972, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Ferrocarrileros (Railroad Workers), Sarah Jimenez Vernis, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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La Lucha Conti (nua) (illustrated postcard for a Day of the Dead art), Carlos A. Cortez, 1991, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Identity II (Identidad II), Maria Luisa de Villa, 1999, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Femme (Fantasma)*, Rufino Tamayo, 1964, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Muerto I (Dead I), Francisco Benjamin Toledo, 1989, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Remanso de sol, Pedro Coronel, 1980, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Senal T, Vicente Rojo (Almazan), 1972, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Credits: Story

NMMA remains true to our founding mission: To showcase the beauty and richness of Mexican culture by sponsoring events and presenting exhibitions that exemplify the majestic variety of visual and performing arts in the Mexican culture; to develop, conserve and preserve a significant permanent collection of Mexican art; to encourage the professional development of Mexican artists; and, to offer arts-education programs.

Exhibition Curator:
Cesáreo Moreno - Visual Arts Director / Chief Curator

Exhibition Information Coordinator:
Zarai Zaragoza - Visual Arts Intern, Summer 2017

Project Team:
Raquel Aguiñaga-Martinez - Visual Arts Associate Director / Registrar
Barbara Engelskirchen - Chief Development Officer
Rebecca D. Meyers - Permanent Collection Curator
Dolores Mercado - Associate Curator

Photo Credits:
Kathleen Culbert-Aguilar - Photographer
Michael Tropea - Photographer
Rocio Caballero
Lee Fatheree
Galeria de Arte Mexicano
NMMA staff
Michael Tropea
Shuzo Uemoto
Tom Van Eynde

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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