Despite our proximity to Mexico, there has never been a large-scale exhibition showcasing contemporary Mexican art in North Texas. In fact, there hasn’t been an exhibition like this anywhere in the country in more than a decade. But with Mexico Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, an exhibition featuring artwork from numerous Mexican artists from the 1990s to present day, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is ending the stalemate between contemporary Mexican art and the United States. The exhibition, curated by Andrea Karnes, opens Sept. 15.
Mexico Inside Out will feature approximately 60 works by 20 artists that explore current issues in Mexico. Karnes says the issues are mostly sociopolitical and deal with the economy, the fluctuation of the peso, the extremes between wealth and poverty, the corrupt political system, among others. “They are issues that are very specific to Mexico in one sense: borders, drugs, politics,” acknowledged Karnes. “But in another sense, we all deal with those same things in every country. That’s why it’s called Inside Out. ‘Inside’ meaning issues inside the country and specific to Mexico, but ‘Outside’ meaning that they reverberate throughout the globe as well.”
The exhibition has been three years in the making, with countless trips to Mexico City, logistical challenges and setbacks to be overcome along the way. Shipping art between Fort Worth and Mexico proved to be challenging, as many of the pieces had to go through Los Angeles first, providing added expense and logistical details. Additionally, many of the artists must be in Fort Worth to install works and have needed assistance with attaining visas. But for Karnes, all of these hindrances have been worth it. “We’ve never done a show for the 10 years we’ve been in this building with this many artists, and there are all kinds of issues that we’re working out. But it’s all going to come together and work out and make for an amazing exhibition,” she says.
Karnes admitted that it is tough to predict a response to any exhibition, but she was hopeful for the community’s reaction to Inside Out. She’s very excited to introduce some of these artists to the Fort Worth area for the first time. And she believes that the art itself is as first-class as the artists that created it. “Every work in the exhibition was carefully chosen. None of the work is just there as a filler; nothing is there that’s not important.” While the primary goal is to showcase artists and work that she believes in, Karnes also hopes that the show is able to bring in the Hispanic community and develop more of a relationship with that community and these artists.
Ultimately Karnes wants the show to be “thought-provoking and invigorating for people that come to see it.” Art has long been a channel we can go through to bridge gaps and understand other cultures better, and Mexico Inside Out looks to continue that tradition as it teaches all who see it something about Mexico and something about themselves.