Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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UPDATE: The Niépce Heliograph will not be on view July 12–August 20, 2019.
Also note that our exhibition galleries will close early (at 5 p.m.) on Thursday, July 18, 2019.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange, 1920–1945 September 11, 2017–January 1, 2018

Widely acknowledged as a critical chapter in the history of twentieth-century art, the rise of modernism in Mexico was activated by artists, museum curators, gallery owners, journalists, and publishers both in Mexico and the United States. These figures created and promoted an art that pioneered a synthesis of indigenous traditions, both ancient and contemporary, and international, modernist aesthetics.

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Chief among the artists who contributed to the creation of the "Mexican Moment," were "los tres grandes": Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro, Siqueiros. Other important artists were Frida Kahlo, Miguel Covarrubias, and Jean Charlot; American jeweler William Spratling; and photographers Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, and Manuel Bravo. See works by these artists and many others.

This exhibition explores two decades of dynamic cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States. It begins around 1920, when the conclusion of a long and bitter revolution in Mexico ushered in new cultural ideals and programs, and continues into the mid-1940s, when contemporary Mexican art entered the mainstream in the United States.

The exhibition underscores that art movements rarely conform to national borders; nor do they result from the efforts of artists alone. Transnational networks of individuals and institutions that seek, champion, and interpret great—often radically new—works of art are essential. Never has this been more the case than during the early twentieth century's "Mexican moment."


Admission to the exhibition is free. No tickets or reservations are required. Your donation supports the Ransom Center's exhibitions and public programs.


21st and Guadalupe Streets
Austin, Texas

Parking map
Parking for visitors with disabilities

Exhibition Galleries


10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday
Noon–5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Closure Dates

Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day


Field trip and group tour information

Non-flash photography is allowed.

About the Center

The Harry Ransom Center, a world-renowned humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, houses extensive collections of literature, film, art, photography, and the performing arts.

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Exhibition Poster

Book cover

Accompanying the exhibition is the book "Mexico Modern," which features essays from the curators and profiles of leading figures showcased in the exhibition. Purchase online and onsite in the Museum Store.


Austin Community Foundation

IBC Bank


Sponsors Culturemap Austin KMFA KUTX KUT KVUE