The 1910 Mexican Revolution transformed the country of Mexico politically, socially, and culturally. Afterward, the nation’s leadership set about turning the revolt into a durable political regime. The government also promoted a cultural revolution to bond Mexican citizens in a new state. Mexico’s modern artists sought to create works with a distinctly national character—based on history, tradition, and identity—while also being in tune with the most innovative artistic styles of the time.
Mexico’s mural painters have been justly credited with a quintessential revolutionary program: to merge modern art with mass politics. But in truth, modern Mexican art is much more complex. It is a panorama of competing cultural and artistic forces every bit as fierce as the struggles between the country’s political factions. It gave rise to an exceptional artistic scene, at once inward probing and outward focused, and generated a dramatic range of creativity and innovation.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art was one of the first US institutions to collect and present modern art from Mexico, and today the museum holds one of the most extensive collections in the country.