Mexico: A Revolution in Art -- The Week

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Mexico: A Revolution in Art 'Year's Boldest Exhibition'

RA exhibits works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, but the photographs are the stars of the show

LAST UPDATED AT 08:02 ON Tue 9 Jul 2013

What you need to know A new exhibition of early 20th century Mexican art has opened at the Royal Academy in London. Mexico: A Revolution in Art focuses on the art of the cultural renaissance in Mexico from 1910 to 1940, following the 1910 revolution.

The show brings together work from key figures including Diego Rivera (above), Frida Kahlo and José Clemente Orozco and photographers Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Tina Modotti. Their work is shown alongside work by international artists and intellectuals who visited and were influenced by Mexico's cultural scene, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Breton and Robert Capa. Until 29 September.

What the critics like It's "the year's boldest, barmiest exhibition", says Alastair Smart in the Daily Telegraph. Credit must go to curator Adrian Locke for pulling off this fascinating show.

"The prints and photographs are the true stars of the show," says Laura Cumming in The Observer. Modotti's photographs show her gift for capturing the sensual materiality of life, while Alvarez Bravo's monumental works are a revelation.

The show also introduces "an interesting cluster of artistic foreigners attracted to Mexico by all the revolutionary promise", says Waldemar Januszczak in the Sunday Times. Edward Burra evokes the darkness of Mexican belief, while the great American abstractionist Josef Albers captures the light and shade of a Mexican afternoon - lovely.

What they don't like The show's fundamental flaw is that it misses out on the great Mexican murals, says Charles Darwent in The Independent. Since mural painting was central to Mexican art in the decades after the 1910 Revolution – "it is a grave lack, like an ice-cream cone with no ice-cream."

Text and image courtesy of The Week.