Contemporary Mexican painting in a time of change by Shrifa Goldman



Originally published in 1981, this book was the first to deal in detail with contemporary Mexican art after World War II, and, in particular, with the important movement of the early 1960s known as Nueva Presencia. The artists associated with this movement include Arnold Belkin, Francisco Icaza, and Jos+(c) Luis Cuevas, who later became a prominent opponent of the group. United by their belief in the importance of the human image in art, they distanced themselves both from the social realism of their predecessors and from the pure abstraction of many of their contemporaries. Goldman begins with a brief examination of the era and issues of muralism and the art of Rufino Tamayo. She then focuses on the confrontation between socially conscious art and ‘pure painting’ that began in the late 1950s and resulted in the formation of Nueva Presencia. Based on personal interviews with artists and critics as well as extensive archival research, the text analyses the socio-political context of contemporary Mexican art and the conflicting currents of nationalism and internationalism, in addition to the aesthetic qualities of the works of the sixteen artists most involved in Nueva Presencia.


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