See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Visual arts#Mexican muralism + Mexican Renaissance for a discussion about the similarity between the two articles.--CaroleHenson (talk) 15:41, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Compare to Mexican muralism
The Mexican Renaissance was a brief period in the 1920s that had a heavy emphasis on mural work. That being said, it wouldn’t have been brought to attention without the militaristic revolution of 1910. The Renaissance is seen as simplistic within our history, but it is more complex than the majority realize. Without the militaristic revolution, there would be no transition into the renaissance. And without <<Rivera, etc. [taking over from]>> José Vasconcelos, we would be hard pressed to imagine that it would have gone forth. It was right around 1914 when Vasconcelos started to creatively express himself. He went to great lengths to try and find artists who would be willing to start the murals on the inner city walls. However, all of the local artists turned him down. Many were fearful and blamed it on other projects or being too busy. Vasconcelos finally realized that there was talent outside of the city and wrote letters to Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, who were working in France at the time. He had to pay for the tickets and essentially bribe them with money, to come back to a huge muralist movement and little did they know, fame. The murals were not just aesthetically pleasing, but also had significant meaning to them. They revealed social and political messages to try and reunify the country under the post Mexican Revolution government. The renaissance was dominated by a specific three painters; Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. However from the 1920s to 1970s it became a popular and influential movement that not only inspired many artists in Mexico but also many in North America, which helped to start the Chicano Mural Movement (Chicano art movement).
==Mexican nationalism== See Mexical muralism#Antecedents and last paragraph of #Los Tres Grandes
Mexican Nationalism first began when Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. During this time period they strived to break free of all ties with Spain and establish their own Mexican identity. Since then, nationalism has been on the rise and was very dominant during the revolution of 1910. However, it first heavily came into play during the Porfiriato era. A regime welcomed American capitalism in the form of entrepreneurs, then trading with the US and became part of the North American economy up until present day. There was modernization still within the dictatorship of Diaz. This period of the 1880s was the first sign of formulation of Mexican Nationalism. José Vasconcelos, a well placed liberal intellectual, wrote a book on Mexican history up until the current time.
The Mexican Revolution started in 1910. It was led by Francisco I. Madero against the longtime leader Porfirio Díaz and it lasted for the majority of the decade until the late 1920s. The revolution caused both reformation and experimentation within Mexican social organization, but with that came great struggle. After many hard years, the Mexican Constitution of 1917 was produced. Diaz’s presidency came at the high expense of the working class, and many who were initially happy with him completely changed their minds. Diaz implemented many new reforms that more or less contradicted everything that previous leaders had done, such as the reforms of Juárez. A big source of controversy were his land reforms. No peasant or farmer could claim the land he occupied without a formal legal title, which was almost impossible to obtain. Notions such as this started to turn many people against Diaz, which is what started the revolt against his leadership. It changed from a revolt against Diaz to a multi-sided civil war with a frequent change in power and struggle.
An important figure to recognize during the 20th century in Mexico was Jose Vasconcelos. He was a Mexican educator, writer, philosopher, and politician who was known to have a very influential yet controversial personality. He served as rector of the public of the National University of Mexico and was also appointed Minister of Public Education by president Álvaro Obregón from 1921-1924. He ran for president in 1929, but lost to Pascual Ortiz Rubio, later directed the National Library of Mexico in 1940, and proceeded to reside over the Mexican institute of Hispanic Culture in 1948. Vasconcelos was a huge advocate of education and creative expression within education. During his time as minister he made many changes. Emphasized changes were the expansion of the rural school program and bringing out the importance of the muralist movement in Mexican art. He was always in favor of education of the masses and strived to make the nation's education secular, civic, and Pan-American.
Vasconcelos himself was opposed to military violence during the revolution, which lead him to this different sort of expression. He nearly single handedly linked the revolution over to the renaissance. This was when expression of sounds, colors, lines, and murals was born. It was then that under his direction of Minister of Education, the leading artists were directed to fill the walls of the city on public buildings with didactic murals. When Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros <<[and other artists]>> were given the right to paint these inner walls, the Mexican Mural movement had officially begun.
In 1925, Vasconcelos published a book, La Raza Cósmica, which spoke optimistically on the initiation of a “universal era of humanity.” His new civilization, “Universópolis”, would become a mixture of all races of the world with no respect to color, an agglomeration of sorts. He believed this to be the way the world was heading, and that a mixture of races, or the future “fifth race” was the only feasible option for the Americas. This book was written in a time when the Mexican morale was low and he was commissioned by President Obregon to raise the spirits of the Mexican people by appointment to Minister of Education. His idea of a cosmic race became famous and was later used by some civil rights activists to put forth their case that no single race is superior. But this was not exactly Vasconcelos’ argument. Although he did argue that it was only through societal conventions and theories that we think of certain races as better than others, he was not against superiority, and certainly wasn’t against the idea of Mexican superiority. His true argument was that a mix of all races was the most superior of all, mixing Mongloids (enslaved Native Americans), Caucasians, and Negroids (enslaved Africans). His ideas came at a crucial time during the Mexican Revolution, and Obregon saw Vasconcelos as the solution to the waning support that the Mexicans were showing for the revolution, which although the fighting was slowing, was still alive in many rebel groups. Although the affects of La Raza Cósmica were apparent in the rise of Mexican nationalism in the following years, Vasconcelos’ cosmic race was never officially recognized. Despite his attempts to look past racial barriers and unite the Mexican people, racism continued to be a factor in Mexico’s revolutionary war, and still today race is a barrier in Mexico and the Americas. The ideas that Vasconcelos introduced were at the core of the Mexican Renaissance. His notion of a mixed, superior race informed expressionist artwork in Mexico, which was very important after the bloody revolution. It was an attempt to generate national unity, and indeed Vasconcelos has been referred to as the “father of the Mexican Renaissance.”
As a result of Vasconcelos’ nationalist effort and ideas, a movement was started in Mexico to champion Mexican heritage and bring morale up. This artistic movement sprung from Vasconcelos’ beliefs in lines, color and sounds as an expression of feelings. Since Vasconcelos himself was against the military, he avoided revolution in its traditional meaning and instead focused on a revolution of art, using expressionism as a way to bring in a new era. In the 1920s this new era began when artists started to paint many large murals on public buildings, murals with nationalist, social, and political messages. The murals were not just for aesthetic appeal or beautification of Mexico, but instead as propaganda, promoting both indigenous and Spanish heritage, glorifying mixed race heritage. These murals were important in the reunification of Mexico under their revolutionary government, and have also been used in other parts of the Americas as symbols of a glorified mixed nation. Mexican Muralism was used during the Chicano and Chicana movements of the 1960s in the United States, and was extremely prevalent in the <<[inspiration for the]>> Chicano Mural Movement (Chicano Movement), which used inspiration from their Mexican ancestors. The Muralist Movement continued through the 1970s, artists using this public medium to express the struggle of the working class, the gap between rich and poor, and the progression to a industrialized country. The success of the movement stemmed from the fact that it could touch everyone, not just wealthy collectors. At the time the movement began, many in Mexico were illiterate and having these socialist messages and propaganda on the walls of public buildings was a revolutionary concept, allowing artists to freely express themselves to the public, and get their message heard. Although many artists were involved in the Muralist Movement, the big three, or “Los Tres Grandes”(Mexican muralism) were Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. They believed in art as the highest form of human expression and a key force in social revolution. Although Rivera did not fight in the Mexican Revolution, the other two did, and they expressed the horrors of the war in their murals. Diego Rivera was in Europe during the war, and as a result, his murals were in traditional style, influenced by European modernism. Because he was not in Mexico during the war, he also painted in a utopian manner, idealizing the social outcomes of the war, and not focusing on the violence. His works are world-renowned and he is well known even today for his contributions to art. His utopian murals focused on exposing the indigenous life and he painted in earthly tones to imitate the native murals.
Orozco’s work was much darker and depicted human suffering as well as criticized the ruling classes, making them seem evil and oppressive. Because his works were so abusive and depicted graphically the horrors of the war, many of his murals were criticized and even defaced.
Siquerios was the most radical of “Los Tres Grandes,” and thereby he was the most communist of the three, depicting the proletarian masses in many of his murals. Because of his radicalism, his work was also criticized and he was unwelcome in the United States and even parts of Mexico. A key characteristic of his work was his use of futuristic technology. He focused on Mexico after the revolution, creating strange scientific machinery and bold, modernistic lines. Also important to the Muralist Movement was Frida Kahlo, who represents a rare case of women influencing the Mexican Renaissance. Although she was not explicitly a muralist in the movement, she was an artist herself and Kahlo married Rivera after watching him paint murals for many years. She herself was a fellow communist and although their marriage was tumultuous, they inspired each other and through their individual fame, they gave credence to the Muralist movement of Mexico.
The Mexican Renaissance lasted far longer than anyone could have predicted, with the Mural Movement going well into the 1970s. The morale that the renaissance gave to the Mexican people was far greater than Vasconcelos could have predicted, and the ideals of the cosmic race are still in use today. The ideals of the cosmic race are used in civil rights groups in the United States and the murals have had an impact on socialist activism everywhere. In both Mexico and the United States murals from the Muralist Movement have been preserved on different buildings, a testament to their impact on the world. The “future race” was never realized, but the social and political effects that it had were prominent, embodied in the murals. The murals brought art back into popular form and promoted cultural Mexican ideals.
|Reflection of today|
==Reflection of today==
Different examples, but essentially the same points about influence The Mexican Renaissance movement was vital to the Mexican people as they experienced bloody revolution and many changes of government. What we remember most today is the Muralist Movement and the many effects that it had on nations all over the world. Many revolutions and civil rights movements have used the murals and their socialist ideals as inspiration for their cause. Many of the murals have been preserved in their original locations and others have been recreated in the United States. "American Tropical" a mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros is on display and a visitor center is being constructed. His works "Echo of a Scream" (1937) and "The Sob" (1939) were also displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Also very influential in the United States is the work of Diego Rivera, who painted a mural on the Rockefeller Center in New York City. It was a controversial piece and ended prematurely when he painted the face of communist, Vladimir Lenin. In 1932 he completed the "Detroit Industry" mural in the Detroit Institute of Arts, although it also received some criticism during the Red Scare and McCarthyism of the 1950s. He also painted some works in San Francisco, for the Golden Gate International Exposition, where he and Frida Kahlo resided for many years. The Muralist movement and the effects the Mexican Renaissance had on Mexico are greater than we could have predicted and are still being used today, reaching far beyond what was imagined when the renaissance began in the midst of the Mexican Revolution of the 1920s.
Potential additions to the Mexican muralism article
I took a stab at identifying potential additions to the muralism article. The main things I found are:
- Frida Kahlo
- potentially more background history - independence from Spain, American capitalism, 1880 beginnings of Mexican nationalism.
- the movement opened up art for working class
- additional examples of Mexican muralism influence, like Frida
- Johnbod also mentioned Rufino Tamayo.
FWIW, I think that it would be nice to add more about out Mexican muralism brought art to the working class - and potentially mention Frida and Rufino in the Influence section, if not in the mural movement section.
There's a lot of information about José Vasconcelos. About his being "father of the Mexican Renaissance", I was looking around to see who all might have said that, and found it here, but its context is broader than Mexican muralism. Another attributes it to William Spratling. I'm not sure how to handle that.--CaroleHenson (talk) 22:31, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
When Mexicans speak of the muralism movement, they do not mean mural work done anytime before the Mexican Revolution. For this reason, a section on precedents already exists in Mexican muralism. As for stating that it brought art to the masses, that was certainly the intent of many/most, but it is really debatable whether or not that was ever achieved, so we should be careful with NPOV. Frida was not considered part of the movement at the time and Mexican sources do not categorize her as a muralist. In fact she only came to any real prominence after her death, when the Generación de la Ruptura broke the mold of what "Mexican art" should be, allowing her more surrealist work to be appreciated. Tamayo has been called the "Fourth Great Muralist" but he too was not terribly accepted by Rivera, Siqueiros, Orozco or their followers as he opposed the politics and moved into more abstract expression. He is a predecesor to the Ruptura. Mexican sources do not generally group Tamayo as part of the movement per se... more of a marginalized figure, with real recognition coming late in his career. If Tamayo is mentioned in this article, this should be clear. If we want to add artists... better to look at the second wave of muralists such as Juan O'Gorman and Pablo O'Higgins, and those who have worked to keep the movement alive such as Guillermo Ceniceros and Arnold Belkin. If the term "Mexican Renaissance" includes things like the overhaul of the education system, literature and more, then it should be a separate article. Just what I read in the Wikipedia article seems to indicate it is synonymous with the mural work, but that may be because that is the best known aspect of it.Thelmadatter (talk) 00:45, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
- Ok, wow, things got pretty easy! So, it sounds like no change to the Mexican muralism article.
- Regarding "Mexican Renaissance" definition - I misunderstood something I had read. In the midst of a discussion about education reforms it was mentioned that José Vasconcelos was the "father of the Mexican Renaissance", but when I read it again to put it in the article I realized it wasn't mentioned in the context of education. To be sure, I did some more searching and just found it in relation to the muralism movement. If I do find a broader definition, I'll make it clear in the article.