Home > Muralism, Graffiti, and Urban Art: Visual Politics in Contemporary Mexico
Muralism, Graffiti, and Urban Art: Visual Politics in Contemporary Mexico
Avid museumgoers will find Mexico City the perfect place to satisfy any of their visual and intellectual interests. With more than 90 private and public museums, the twenty-first century flaneur may, in one single day, discover the treasures of pre-Columbian civilizations at the National Museum of Anthropology and History, marvel at the sumptuous architecture and the murals at the magnificent Palace of Fine Arts, and wander around the spiral corridors of the postmodern Soumaya Museum. While most world travelers and art connoisseurs are aware that Mexico City’s cultural and artistic production easily rivals that of other urban Meccas like New York and Paris, they are likely to ignore the historical and socio-political factors that made out of this megacity an architectural tour-de-force.
Art, in Mexico City, is not just confined behind the doors of sophisticated galleries and sumptuous museums, but masterfully displayed like an indelible tattoo over the cityscape. As a counterculture phenomenon, urban artwork (graffiti, tagging, and street murals) inundates frontispieces, building walls, and billboards conveying a myriad of symbols, letters, and icons awaiting to be deciphered by the casual passer-by. For its defiant and nonapologetic nature, this controversial art form not only offers an alternative sense of aesthetics through the appropriation and reformulation of space, but it also incorporates the vision and talent of younger artists to the metropolis’ topography.
This digital humanities project attempts to shed some light into such a complex and fascinating topic by focusing on one hand, on the processes of citizenship-making and nation-building as devised by post-revolutionary regimes to modernize the country and consolidate their legacy for years to come; and on the other, upon the significant role of urban artwork and graffiti as innovative strategies at play to challenge official forms of culture.
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