Avant-Garde Art and Artists in Mexico

9780292721845: Hardback
Release Date: 1st November 2010

597 b&w and color illustrations

Dimensions: 229 x 254

Number of Pages: 901

Series The William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere

University of Texas Press

Avant-Garde Art and Artists in Mexico

Anita Brenner's Journals of the Roaring Twenties

Edited by
Susannah Joel Glusker
Foreword by
Carlos Monsiváis
Written by
Anita Brenner
Hardback / £108.00

The Mexican Revolution—that violent, inchoate, never-quite-complete break with the past—opened a new era in Mexican art and letters now known as the "Mexican Renaissance." In Mexico City, a coterie of artists including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros explored how art could forward revolutionary ideals—and, in the process, spent countless hours talking, gossiping, arguing, and partying. Into this milieu came Anita Brenner, in her early twenties already trying her hand as a journalist, art critic, and anthropologist. Her journals of the period 1925 to 1930 vividly transport us to this vital moment in Mexico, when building a "new nation" was the goal.

Brenner became a member of Rivera's inner circle, and her journals provide fascinating portraits of its members, including Orozco, Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, and Jean Charlot, with whom she had an unusual loving relationship. She captures the major and minor players in the act of creating works for which they are now famous and records their comings and goings, alliances and feuds. Numerous images of their art brilliantly counterpoint her diary descriptions. Brenner also reveals her own maturation as a perceptive observer and writer who, at twenty-four, published her first book, Idols Behind Altars. Her initial plan for Idols included four hundred images taken by photographers Edward Weston and Tina Modotti. Many of these images, which were ultimately not included in Idols, are published here for the first time along with stunning portraits of Brenner herself. Setting the scene for the journal is well-known Mexican cultural critic Carlos Monsiváis, who offers an illuminating discussion of the Mexican Renaissance and the circle around Diego Rivera.

  • Foreword: Anita Brenner: The (Multiple) Story of Origins (by Carlos Monsiváis)
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • The Context in 1925
    • November 1925: Getting Started
    • December 1925: The "Familia"
  • The Context in 1926
    • January 1926: Working for Gruening
    • February 1926: Posing for Weston
    • March 1926: Casting Off the Spirits
    • April 1926: Pátzcuaro
    • May 1926: Book Contract Comes Through
    • June 1926: San Agustín Acolman
    • July 1926: Gorgeous Weston and Modotti Stuff
    • August 1926: Posing for Jean
    • September 1926: Orozco's Mural Interrupted
    • October 1926: Goitia's Xochimilco
    • November 1926: Día de Muertos
    • December 1926: Pacheco Exhibition
  • The Context in 1927
    • January 1927: With the Family in San Antonio
    • February 1927: Appendicitis
    • March 1927: Getting into Secret Files
    • April 1927: "You Are Too Young!"
    • May 1927: Exploring Yucatán
    • June 1927: Nacho Asúnsolo vs. Diego Rivera
    • July 1927: Posing for Tina Modotti
    • August 1927: Hacienda La Llave
    • September 1927: Moving on to New York
    • October 1927: Enrolling at Columbia
    • November 1927: Transition
    • December 1927: Full-fledged Anthropology
  • The Context in 1928
    • January 1928: Promoting Mexican Art
    • February 1928: Journalism Reemerges
    • March 1928: Music
    • April 1928: Writing for the Encyclopedia
    • May 1928: The Chalma Dream
    • June 1928: Cultural Identity
    • July 1928: Journalism and Philosophy
    • August 1928: Publisher Found
  • The Context in 1929 and 1930: Published, Doctorate Awarded, and Married
    • January 1929: Mella Murdered
    • March 1929: Social Whirl
    • May 1929: Visiting the Rockefellers
    • June 1929: Meeting Prince Charming
    • July 1929: Giving Siqueiros a Hand
    • August 1929: All about David
    • September 1929: Idols behind Altars Published
    • October 1929: Being an Author
    • November 1929: Overload
    • February 1930: Catching Up with Academia
    • March 1930: Guggenheim Grant and a Wedding
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix
  • Glossary
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Anita Brenner Selected Bibliography, 1924-1930
  • Index

Carlos Monsiváis was Mexico’s most beloved and esteemed journalist, critic, essayist, activist, and chronicler of the “urban carnival,” as he called his nation’s capital. The recipient of over thirty prizes and awards, including the Guadalajara International Book Fair Prize, Mexico’s National Prize for Journalism, and multiple honorary degrees, Monsiváis was prolific. Among his many works is Salvador Novo: Lo marginal en el centro.

Journalist, historian, anthropologist, art critic, and creative writer, ANITA BRENNER (1905–1974) was one of Mexico’s most discerning interpreters. She is known for her landmark books Idols Behind Altars, Your Mexican Holiday, and The Wind That Swept Mexico.