Earlier this spring, the Wichita Art Museum opened the exhibition Visions of Mexican Art. This exhibition serves as an introduction to the modern and contemporary painting, sculpture and photography of 53 Mexican artists.
This collection belongs to the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. They acquired the artwork through a “Payment-in-kind” policy that began in 1957, which allowed artists to submit artwork as form of tax payment.
The Wichita Art Museum roughly divides their exhibition into five stylistic movements. Beginning with the Mexican School of Painting and Sculpture, the show moves forward to the Rupture, Magical Realism, Neo-Mexicanism, and Post-Modernism. If you have never seen fine art from Mexico, this presentation provides an adequate overview.
However, there are some major holes in the presentation of the work. The wall text that accompanies each piece gives a brief biography of each artist. Unless viewers are already familiar with the complexity of Mexican art, the audience is provided very little context to interpret the cultural and art historical contributions of the art itself.
This exhibition further aims to demonstrate the creative journey of Mexico and it attempts to join their practices to the rest of the world. But major connections between non-Western and Western countries are curiously absent.
Visions of Mexican Art is a wonderful chance to see art from beyond our borders, and I applaud the museum for thinking more broadly about what constitutes American art. I hope their cursory look at a breadth of Mexican artists will become the buildings block for more in-depth shows on international art.