This new interpretive history of Mexican art from the Spanish Conquest to the early decades of the twenty-first century is the most comprehensive introduction to the subject in fifty years. James Oles ranges widely across media and genres, offering new readings of painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, and photographs. He interprets major works by such famous artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, but also discusses less familiar figures in history and landscape painting, muralism, and conceptual art.
The story of Mexican art is set in its rich historical context by the book’s treatment of political and social change. The author draws on recent scholarship to examine crucial issues of race, class, and gender, including the work of indigenous artists during the colonial period, and of women artists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Throughout, Oles shows how Mexican artists participated in local and international developments. He considers both native and foreign-born artists, from Baroque architects to kinetic sculptors, and highlights the important role played by Mexicans in the global art scene of the last five centuries.