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Art
Mexican Modern:   Masters of the 20th Century
By Luis-Martín Lozano and David Craven
Illustrated. 100 pp.
Museum of New Mexico Press. US$29.95
ISBN: 9780890134900

The early twentieth century saw the flowering of modernism in the arts, literature, music-virtually every area of human creative endeavor. In 1910, the Mexican Revolution unleashed a social movement that fed the creative fire of a new generation of Mexican artists and intellectuals. In all areas of art and thought, a ripening and a revolution took place, resulting in a fresh vision for Mexico. The book, Mexican Modern: Masters of the 20th Century, is based on the works that this modern Mexican renaissance created.

Although firmly modernistic, the works of art in this excellent art book strongly recall their traditional roots in a way that European modernism seems to have missed. The results are beautiful and astounding. The works are sensual and evocative. There are over fifty richly colored plates included in this work. Each one is an adventure in the richness and subtlety of color. Most are oil paintings, but also included is a small selection of old photographs by Modotti, Weston, and Bravo that illustrates the modern movement in photography. Mexican Modern: Masters of the 20th Century also covers some works by Mexican modern women artists, such as Maria Izquierdo and Olga Costa, as well as Frida Kahlo.

Mexican Modern: Masters of the 20th Century, which was published to accompany a 2006 exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, also includes essays by David Craven and Luis-Martín Lozano. David Craven is an art history professor at the University of New Mexico, where he is an expert in Latin America art and culture. In addition to Mexican Modern: Masters of the 20th Century, he has five other books to his credit, including Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990 and The New Concept of Art and Popular Culture in Nicaragua Since the Revolution of 1979, plus over 100 articles and reviews that have appeared in mainstream art publications around the world.

Luis-Martin Lozano is an art history professor at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City, Mexico. He has guest-curated at museums in Mexico, Spain, Germany, Japan, Canada, and the United States. Luis-Martin Lozano is a highly respected scholar in the field of Mexican modern masters of the twentieth century, including María Izquierdo, Rufino Tamayo, Tina Modotti, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo. His recent appointment as director of the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City confirms his status in the art world.

The essays by Luis-Martin Lozano and David Craven perfectly accompany the colorful, dusky shades and hues of the works included in Mexican Modern: Masters of the 20th Century. These are works that are bursting with eroticism and life. They are an excellent collection, one that is sure to be appreciated by students and lovers of Mexican art and modern art.

Maria Davies, for Notable Book Reviews
Notable Book Reviews received one or more copies of this book in exchange for this review.
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