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.
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.
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.
Cesáreo Moreno - Visual Arts Director / Chief Curator
Exhibition Information Coordinator:
Zarai Zaragoza - Visual Arts Intern, Summer 2017
Raquel Aguiñaga-Martinez - Visual Arts Associate Director / Registrar
Barbara Engelskirchen - Chief Development Officer
Rebecca D. Meyers - Permanent Collection Curator
Dolores Mercado - Associate Curator
Kathleen Culbert-Aguilar - Photographer
Michael Tropea - Photographer
Galeria de Arte Mexicano
Tom Van Eynde