Donald Albrecht

Mexico Modern:
Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange

Harry Ransom Center/University of Texas at Austin

Co-curated with Thomas Mellins

Mexico Modern explored two decades of dynamic cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States. It began around 1920, when the armed phase of a long and bitter revolution in Mexico ushered in new cultural ideals and programs, and continued into the mid-1940s, when contemporary Mexican art entered the mainstream in the United States. The exhibition underscored that art movements rarely conform to national borders; nor do they result from the efforts of artists alone. Transnational networks of individuals and institutions that seek, champion, and interpret great—often radically new—works of art are essential. Never has this been more the case than during the early 20th-century’s “Mexican moment.”

Widely acknowledged as a critical chapter in the history of 20th-century art, the rise of modernism in Mexico was activated by artists, museum curators, gallery owners, journalists, and publishers both in Mexico and the United States. These figures created and promoted an art that pioneered a synthesis of indigenous traditions, both ancient and contemporary, and international, modernist aesthetics. Chief among the artists who contributed to the creation of the “Mexican moment” were “los tres grandes”: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Other important artists were Frida Kahlo, Miguel Covarrubias, and Jean Charlot; American jeweler William Spratling; and photographers Edward Weston and Tina Modotti. Accompanied by a 176-page book.

Working with Thomas Mellins, Mr. Albrecht conceived the idea of the exhibition, developed its themes, selected artifacts, wrote exhibition text, and worked with the design team.

>See exhibition catalog

“By examining Mexican modern art through the lens of transnational connections, Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange not only explores a conversation between two countries and their vibrant artistic scenes but also contributes to a complicated and refined narrative about the grandeur of Mexican art.”
Cristóbal Jácome-Moreno, College Art Association Reviews, December 22, 2017

Exhibition and graphic designer: Harry Ransom Center/University of Texas at Austin
Exhibition video producer: Harry Ransom Center/University of Texas at Austin
Catalog graphic design: WIGEL, Munich

Donald Albrecht