Now on view in Phoenix Art Museum’s Marshall and Hendler Galleries, Border Crossings: Mexico and the American Southwest represents a cultural conversation between Mexico and the United States. The exhibition juxtaposes Mexican and American works, all created between 1916 and 1950 and drawn from internal collections, to examine shared histories on both sides of the border. Featured works include paintings by Paul Pletka, Diego Rivera, Georgia O’Keefe, and Alfredo Ramos Martínez. The lens of focus includes themes of women artists, landscape, indigenous subjects, and portraits.
The four broad themes in the exhibition trace common links among this selection of artworks. Women artists were pioneering modernists, though often under-recognized in their day, and represent a diversity of unique visions. The border between Mexico and the United States was a permeable one, and artists’ landscapes celebrate our shared geography and natural environment.
Indigenous subjects were depicted by artists with different aims. Some celebrated indigenous heritage, while others produced romantic portrayals for the tourist market. In portraiture, both anonymous subjects and real individuals were portrayed with great dignity. Crossing borders affords opportunities to explore shared artistic approaches, both here and there.