Students Staff

05 July 2013

Essex graduate oversees revolutionary show on Mexico at Royal Academy

Art History graduate Dr Adrian Locke launches a major exhibition focusing on the art of Mexico at the Royal Academy of Arts in London this weekend.

Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910–1940 in the Sackler Wing of the Royal Academy is curated by Adrian and will examine the intense thirty year period of artistic creativity that took place in Mexico at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Essex graduate Dr Adrian Locke on his Royal Academy of Arts exhibition ‘Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910 to 1940' from University of Essex on Vimeo.

The turmoil of the revolution between 1910 and 1920 led to a period of profound political change in which the arts were placed centre stage. Comprising over 120 paintings and photographs, the exhibition brings together works from both public and private collections across the Americas and Europe.

Adrian completed a BA Latin American Studies, MA Latin American Art and PhD in Art History at the University of Essex before going on to become Exhibitions Curator at the Royal Academy.

He said: “The exhibition is about the huge cultural changes which took place in Mexico following the revolution from 1910 to 1920. The idea is to show how international Mexico was at that time and look at art produced in Mexico both by Mexican artists and artists from around the world who were attracted to the country at this time.”

Adrian points out that Art History at Essex continues to be incredibly influential in this field: “The University of Essex has fundamentally shaped worldwide how we look at the art of Latin America in the Pre-Columbian, Colonial and modern eras.”

Dr Adrian Locke on Latin American Studies and Art History at Essex from University of Essex on Vimeo.

The Royal Academy exhibition looks at a fascinating and dramatic period of Mexico’s history. Once the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution had settled, the subsequent political change ushered in a period often referred to as a cultural renaissance. Many international artists and intellectuals also engaged with the political changes taking place, and responded to the rich and varied country they found on arrival in Mexico.

For many, Mexico was an unspoilt land rich with history, stunning scenery and a diverse population; it heralded a sense of discovery and a promise of adventure.

Work by significant Mexican artists such as Roberto Montenegro, José Clemente Orozco, José Chávez Morado Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera will be placed alongside artists from across the world who were affected by their experiences in Mexico. These include Josef Albers, Edward Burra, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier Bresson, Philip Guston, Marsden Hartley, Tina Modotti, Henrietta Shore, Paul Strand, Leon Underwood and Edward Weston.

Adrian has been involved in a huge number of high profile shows, but is pleased this latest exhibition is looking at a period and country which has not been investigated by exhibitions at the Royal Academy in the past.

He said: “This has been a really exciting project to work on. The overall response from museums and galleries who have helped us with this exhibition has been incredibly positive. From the perspective of the Royal Academy I think it is important we are doing an exhibition on Mexican art from the 20th century. This is not a subject the Royal Academy has ever tackled before so we are changing the boundaries a little bit. I think it is great we can do that and show what was happening across the world at different times and how that has had an impact.”

Mexico: A Revolution in Art is open from Saturday 6 July to Sunday 29 September.

The Royal Academy's focus on Mexico coincides with a similar focus for Mexican Migrations, the latest exhibition from the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) which is currently running at firstsite.


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