Art

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo

Immerse yourself in Mexican culture and explore this rich mix of art, from Mesoamerican stone carvings to 1940s film noir

May 5th is Cinco de Mayo, the yearly anniversary of Mexico’s defeat of the French Empire in the Battle of Puebla back in 1862. While in Mexico, this day is only really recognized in Puebla, in the USA, it has morphed into a big, commercial celebration.

Why is it such a big celebration in the USA?

It began back in the 60s, when Mexican-American activists started to raise awareness of this historic event to honor their heritage, and bridge the gap between the two cultures. Cities with large Mexican-American communities subsequently started to commemorate the date with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 1
National Museum of Mexican Art.

According to The New York Times, since 1989, the date has become more commercial as a result of US importers of Mexican beer brands pouring resources into its promotion. However, over time there has been some confusion around the significance of these celebrations, with people mistakenly believing May 5th to be the anniversary of Mexico gaining independence from Spain, which is actually on September 16th.

As a way to commemorate the day, we’re spotlighting five exhibitions of Mexican art currently being hosted online for free. From Mesoamerican stone carvings and 1940s film noir to paintings and illustration by Mexican-American artists, this rich mix of exhibitions invites you to immerse yourself in Mexican culture and celebrate artists from different periods of history.

Enjoy!


Nuestras Historias: Mexico in the U.S., at The National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago, USA)

This online exhibition is part of “Nuestras Historias: Stories of Mexican Identity,” from the National Museum of Mexican Art’s permanent collection. It features ancient Mesoamerican and colonial artifacts, modern Mexican art, folk art, and contemporary works from both sides of the U.S.–Mexican border. “Nuestras Historias: Mexico in the U.S.'' presents the dynamic and diverse stories of Mexican identity in North America.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 5
Quinceañera (2001), by Carmen Lomas Garza. National Museum of Mexican Art.

In the U.S., artists of Mexican descent often grow up with a bilingual, bicultural identity and they frequently represent scenes and images from both sides of the border to express this bicultural experience. Discover works by Carmen Lomas Garza, Ester Hernández, Carlos Cortez, and many others.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 7
The Alter (1988) by Ester Hernandez. National Museum of Mexican Art.
5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 8
Untitled (Boycott Grapes) (1973) by Xavier Viramontes. National Museum of Mexican Art.


Film Noir During the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, at Colección y Archivo de Fundación Televisa (Mexico City, Mexico)

Mexico’s film industry blossomed in the 1940s and 1950s, and this period became known as the “Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.” Inspired by the Hollywood gangster films featuring the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, Mexican filmmakers created their own style of cine negro, weaving in Mexican folklore, cabaret, and music.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 10
Scene from "Mujeres sin alma" (1905-04). Colección y Archivo de Fundación Televisa.

Performers such as Dolores de Rio, Pedro Armendáriz, Maria Felix, and Arturo de Cordova; world-class directors like Roberto Gavaldón, Julio Bracho, and Emilio Fernandez; and cinematographers such as Gabriel Figueroa and Alex Phillips made their mark on this genre and period of film history.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 12
Scene from "Han matado a Tongolele" (1948). Colección y Archivo de Fundación Televisa.
5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 13
Scene from "¿Quién mató a Eva?" (1934) by Raúl Martínez Solares. Colección y Archivo de Fundación Televisa.


Daniel Lezama: Retrospective, at The Mexican Museum (San Francisco, USA)

Daniel Lezama was born in Mexico City to Mexican American parents in 1968. He studied at the ENAP (National School of Art) in Mexico City from the mid to late 90s. Lezama was influenced by classical painting, which he wanted to reinvent to tell different stories.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 15
Daniel Lezama. The Mexican Museum.

He draws on the world he sees around him and the living conditions in his native country to create oil-on-canvas depictions of alternate realities. In this online gallery presented by The Mexican Museum in San Francisco, you can discover works produced by Lezama from 2008 up until 2018, and which are divided into four collections: The Prodigal Mother, Travelers, Germinal, and The Company.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 17
Daniel Lezama. The Mexican Museum.
5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 18
Daniel Lezama. The Mexican Museum.


Bodies, Faces and People in the Ancient Mexico, at The Amparo Museum (Puebla, Mexico)

“Bodies, Faces and People in the Ancient Mexico” transports us millennia back in time to explore Mesoamerican cultures. This online exhibition hosted by the Amparo Museum brings together a collection of stone carvings of human figures, which shed light on the clothing, adornment, body painting, gestural behavior, and the expression of emotions in these ancient cultures.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 20
The Amparo Museum.
5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 21
The Amparo Museum.
5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 22
The Amparo Museum.


Resisting Exclusion: Rupture & Rebellion in 20th Century Mexican Art, at The Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center (Washington D.C., USA)

"Resisting Exclusion: Rupture & Rebellion in 20th Century Mexican Art" presents a selection of works from the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) art collection. This exhibition explores the Mexican art movements Muralism (1920s-1950s) and the subsequent Generación de la Ruptura (Breakaway Generation, 1950s-1970s).

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 24
La huida (The Escape) by David Alfaro Siqueiros. Inter-American Development Bank.

Discover how both these key movements respectively foster and challenge the idea that art should reflect the realities of one’s socio-political context and can be transformed into a mirror that reveals national identity.

5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 26
Zapatistas (1935) by José Clemente Orozco. Inter-American Development Bank.
5 Online Mexican Art Exhibitions to Visit on Cinco de Mayo 27
Mujer sonriente de la suite “Mujeres” (1969) by Rufino Tamayo. Inter-American Development Bank.
1 comment

Log in or sign up to comment

Get Domestika's news delivered to your inbox