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Mexican-inspired art once divided, now unified

A new article indicates that what were once two separate and distinct entities – Mexican art and Mexican American art – may now be uniting to form one unique whole. 

According to a recent feature published in the Los Angeles Times, for the past several decades, there has been a divide between people who send money to Mexico in order purchase artistic renderings that were produced there and the showpieces that were made by someone of Mexican descent, only in America.

C. Ondine Chavoya, associate professor of Latina and Latino art at Williams College in Massachusetts, indicated that the two being isolated from each other has likely been because of the structural differences in how art is taught in the U.S. versus Mexico, not to mention the disparity in how galleries in each country are.

But art experts say that this separation is less apparent, due to recent discoveries revealing that Mexican art and Mexican American art have a lot of comparables.

These similarities were on display at an art festival held in Mexico City, called "Asco: Elite of the Obscure" which catalogued various pieces that were produced between 1972 and 1987. The Los Angeles Times notes that art enthusiasts will be able to see this exhibition through the month of July.

Technology has enabled art enthusiasts to overcome longheld stereotypes
But it isn't just the renderings that contributed to the estrangement between Mexican and Mexican American artwork. The newspaper notes that for generations, each camp had perceptions of the other that were less than favorable. For example, among Mexican artists who have never left their home country, many believed that those who moved to America turned their back on their culture in the pursuit of a different ideal. Octavio Paz, who won a Nobel Prize for literature, may have helped contribute to this stereotype in his work, "The Labyrinth of Solitude."

But modern-day conveniences have helped Mexicans and Mexican Americans overcome these barriers. The Times indicates that the prevalence of text messaging and the internet has enabled individuals on both sides of the border to share their experiences one with another about the differences they've witnessed in the respective art pieces. A more liberated political environment has also contributed to greater communication, even about art topics that were once considered off-limits.

Curators tell the Los Angeles Times that as Mexican and Mexican American art become increasingly interconnected, even more parallels will become apparent. There will be more opportunities to discern the things that are analogous in future projects and exhibitions, including four years from now when Southern California hosts a festival akin to the one that Mexico City opened earlier this year.

Mexico has a rich history of famous painters who have made their mark on the world of art over the past centuries. One of the most well-known Mexican artists is Diego Rivera, who was a prominent painter throughout much of life. Several years before he died in 1957, Rivera's works were showcased in New York City at fine art museums in 1931. Some of his most famous pieces are in Mexico City today, as well as in U.S.-based cities like Detroit and San Francisco.

A slightly more contemporary Mexican artist is David Alfaro Siqueiros, He's perhaps best known for major works like "La Marcha," "Portrait of the Bourgeoisie" and "The March of Humanity." Siqueiros died at the age of 77 in Mexico in 1974. University of Mexico students get to see his work with regularity as an entire wall of a building on the campus depicts one of his murals.

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