Mexican Murals in Times of Crisis
This book traces the ongoing critical contributions of mural arts to public life in Mexico to show how postrevolutionary murals have been overshadowed both by the Mexican School and by the exclusionary nature of official public arts. By documenting a range of mural practices—from fixed-site murals to mantas (banner murals) to graffiti—Bruce Campbell evaluates the ways in which the practical and aesthetic components of revolutionary Mexican muralism have been appropriated and redeployed within the context of Mexico's ongoing economic and political crisis. Four dozen photographs illustrate the text. Blending ethnography, political science, and sociology with art history, Campbell traces the emergence of modern Mexican mural art as a composite of aesthetic, discursive, and performative elements through which collective interests and identities are shaped.
He focuses on mural activists engaged combatively with the state—in barrios, unions, and street protests—to show that mural arts that are neither connected to the elite art world nor supported by the government have made significant contributions to Mexican culture. Campbell brings all previous studies of Mexican muralism up to date by revealing the wealth of art that has flourished in the shadows of official recognition. His work shows that interpretations by art historians preoccupied with contemporary high art have been incomplete—and that a rich mural tradition still survives, and thrives, in Mexico.
"The interdisciplinary scope of Campbell’s analysis is impressive. . . . [a] fascinating and sophisticated contribution to our understanding of Mexican muralism and, more generally, the role of cultural production in the constitution of public discourse, space, and power." —The Americas