Mestizo Modernism: Race, Nation and Identity in Latin American Culture, 1900–1940

Mestizo ModernismTace Hedrick

Rutgers University Press, 2003
ISBN: 0813532175

We use the term “modernism” almost exclusively to characterize the work of European and American writers and artists who struggled to portray a new kind of fractured urban life typified by mechanization and speed. Between the 1880s and 1930s, Latin American artists were similarly engaged – but with a difference. While other modernists drew from “primitive” cultures for an alternative sense of creativity, Latin American modernists were taking a cue from local sources – primarily indigenous and black populations in their own countries. In Mestizo Modernism Tace Hedrick focuses on four key artists who represent Latin American modernism – Peruvian poet César Vallejo, Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Hedrick interrogates what being “modern” and “American” meant for them and illuminates the cultural contexts within which they worked, as well as the formal methods they shared, including the connection they drew between ancient cultures and modern technologies. This look at Latin American artists will force the reconceptualization of what modernism has meant in academic study and what it might mean for future research.

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