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The Rupturistas Rebelled Against Mexican Muralism Yet Admired One of Its Icons


By Fernando Gálvez de Aguinaga

A new exhibit at Galería Nudo will feature the work of four artists: three were a major part of the Rupture Generation—a generation of artists that broke México’s art world away from a focus on muralism, which until then had been the dominant artistic aesthetic. The Rupture Generation turned México’s artists toward abstractionism. The fourth artist in this exhibit is one of México’s three legendary muralists, the artist of the previous generation who influenced the rupturistas the most.

The exhibit, Affiinities of the Ruptures, will feature the works of artists José Luis Cuevas, Francisco Toledo, and José Clemente Orozco Farías, all rupturistas, and the muralist José Clemente Orozco who influenced them.

Informalism, an abstract art movement that developed separately in reaction to muralism but in tandem with abstract expressionism in other parts of the world—burst into Mexican artistic life post-World War II. Many artists stopped taking muralism as the aesthetic model to follow and turned to the Rufino Tamayo flag. However, while the rupturistas eschewed the work of the three so-called greats of Mexican art (Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco), Orozco still interested many of them.

No doubt his paintings were more poetry and less propaganda. In his depictions of the Mexican Revolution, Orozco produced timeless reflections on war, violence, and death—not panegyrics on a slice of Mexican history. Orozco represented something inspiring for these rebellious young artists.

José Luis Cuevas, leader of the rupturistas, and its greatest polemicist, grew up with Orozco as an influence. His work was not abstract, and his Informalist expressionism was nurtured as much by Orozco’s absurd images as by his expressionist strokes.

Toledo was never a committed rupturista like Cuevas, but he was still close to the movement. His was a more moderate stance, and he always expressed admiration for the muralist movement. While Rivera and Siqueiros’s activism never lost its attraction for Toledo, of these three great muralists, it is Orozco who interested him the most. Toledo reveals affinities with Orozco in both artists’ tendencies toward the monstrous and in their freedom as draftsmen. Toledo always refused to draw or paint political topics although his teachers, Arturo García Bustos and Rina Lazo, invited him to do so. Even if both Cuevas and Toledo turned toward Tamayo for inspiration, in both, the stamp of Orozco is even more striking.

José Clemente Orozco Farías, the great muralist’s grandson, grew up watching the muralists. His grandfather had to have been a key influence on his art and his conception of images. But Farías also saw the new generation that both challenged and was challenged by muralism. The rupture was never complete, because he and these rebels took up the pictorial elements of the muralists.

This exhibit serves to introduce the Mexican public to Orozco, an artist who has lacked the presence he deserves in the gallery tours of his native country. Affinities of the Ruptures is on display beginning August 9 at 7pm.


Art Exhibition

Affinities of the Ruptures

Fri, Aug 9, 7pm

Galería Nudo

Recreo 10B, Centro

415 154 7179




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