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Defying Stability

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo - MUAC, Mexico City

The exhibition offers a conceptual structure that will guide the public through the events of 1968 and their aftermath, touching upon the most significant contributions to artistic creation during those years. The title has its raison d'etre in the counterpoint between the arts and the State.

comunicato stampa

The decade and a half that followed 1952 was a time of flourishing intellectual and artistic activity in Mexico. Based on extensive historical and archival research, Defying Stability offers a polyhedral vision of a decisive period in cultural modernity that cannot be encompassed by the reductive concept of so-called "Rupture." The intense collaboration that took place between creators of different disciplines (photography, film, performing arts, literature, painting, sculpture) produced a cultural renovation that accompanied the emergence of new urban lifestyles and the radicalization of the imagination of the body. This is the story of the cultural experiment that was brought to an end by the crisis of 1968.

This curatorial project proposes to revisit these creative years, which were left stranded between the period emblematic of twentieth-century nationalist art in Mexico (1920–1940) and the events of 1968 and their aftermath. This broad investigation, drawn from different archives, will modify established ideas and stereotypes around this as yet little studied period.

Curatorial structure
Defying Stability offers a conceptual structure that will guide the public through the period, touching upon the most significant contributions to artistic creation during those years. Blurrings refers to the process of undoing the borders between the arts, stressing processes of collaboration and highlighting transgressions across traditional artistic genres. Imaginaries deals with the relationship to the international milieu that aimed to fracture nationalism, explore the problems of the era and transpose them onto the Mexican scene. Corporalities explores the emphasis placed on the body as a sign of a conceptual turn toward identity and territoriality. Modernizations abounds on the state's adoption of strategies in architecture and the creation of cultural institutions, bolstering its image of modernization. This section also deals with the development of mass media, particularly advertising, and approaches the transformation of private life during a period of economic growth. Juxtapositions inquires on the relationship between modern and pre-Hispanic art, as well as the flourishing of a new spirituality. New Circuits explores the transformation of Mexico City and the de-centering of cultural institutions, particularly the galleries that emerged to host the nascent artistic languages and gave way to new lifestyles. This section emphasizes the UNAM as an alternative cultural site of great importance.

Defying Stability
The title of the exhibition has its raison d'être in the counterpoint between the arts and the State. Its protagonists worked at the margins of the official image of Mexican culture. Defying Stability encompasses the period known in the economic and political history of Mexico as "stabilizing development," and presents the State's major projects, both architectural and in terms of the creation of cultural institutions; likewise, it emphasizes the social problems that crystallized around these projects and analyzes resistance to a modernization that was superimposed atop social inequality and conflict.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive, 500-page catalogue which includes curatorial texts, essays and brief texts by approximately 30 specialists on the subject.

Intersections between modern art, modernism, and contemporary art
This was a time of intersections between modernity as a political and aesthetic project, a high modernism linked to an internationalism accentuated by the arrival of European and Latin American artists to Mexico, and the boundaries of contemporary art. Without a doubt, this is a matter that will interest the public and cultural critics alike.

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Inés Arredondo, Luis Barragán, Feliciano Bejar, Enrique Bostelmann, Guillermina Bravo, Luis Buñuel, Félix Candela, Leonora Carrington, Arnaldo Cohen, José Luis Cuevas, Felipe Ehrenberg, Salvador Elizondo, Helen Escobedo, Manuel Felguérez, Pedro Friedeberg, Carlos Fuentes, Rubén Gamez, Jomi García Ascot, Fernando García Ponce, Juan García Ponce, Gelsen Gas, Gunther Gerzso, Alberto Gironella, Alan Glass, Mathias Goeritz, Juan José Gurrola, Luisa Josefina Hernández, Kati y José Horna, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Juan Vicente Melo, Carlos Mérida, Rodrigo Moya, Mario Pani, Wolfgang Paalen, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, Margaret Randall, Diego Rivera, Vicente Rojo, Armando Salas Portugal, Kazuya Sakai, Tomás Segovia, Beatriz Sheridan, Rufino Tamayo, Remedios Varo, and others.

Department of Press & Media
Carmen Ruiz (55)

Opening reception 27th March 2014

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, MUAC
Centro Cultural Universitario
Insurgentes Sur 3000, Coyoacán, México, D.F.

Lance Wyman
dal 17/10/2014 al 21/2/2015

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