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The Art of Mexico: A Rich Tapestry of Traditions

February 15 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Saturday, repeating until February 22, 2020



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Course Description:

The art of Mexico embodies that country’s long struggle to form a cultural and artistic identity. Embedded in Mexico’s artistic production is a centuries-long cultural heritage articulated in influences including the Pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, and Western European traditions, among others. In this class, we will focus on the efforts of Mexican artists to develop styles that merge historical, social, political, religious, cultural and individual concerns. Mexican art reveals both a revolutionary  spirit—and deep ties to antiquity, the West, and the broader contemporary world. From the overtly political murals of Diego Rivera and the Mexican Muralist School to the deeply personal works of such artists as Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo and Mexico’s extraordinary contemporary, graphic and folk artists, there is a thread linking the distant past to the future that remains unbroken.

This course will be a journey along that continuum. (Five 2-hour sessions on Saturday 10am-12pm).

Session 1: 1/25/2020
“Origins of the Mexican Identity: Pre-Columbian Art (c. 1200-1535 CE)”

The civilizations of Central America (Mesoamerica) were roughly contemporaneous with the European Christian era. The Pre-Columbian culture was seemingly brought to an end by the Spanish conquest. However, the art of this era is embedded in Mexican art throughout its history. Today, we will examine this period, including Mayan and Aztec art.

Session 2: 2/1/2020
“The Spanish Colonial Era”

Today, special attention will be paid to the impact of Spanish control over Mexico. We’ll look at the contributions of the conquerors to Mexican art and culture and will also identify the remaining influences of the Pre-Columbian tradition. We’ll also look at Mexico’s struggle of forming a cultural and artistic identity, after winning independence in 1821. Artists we look at will include José Juárez, Juan Correa, and Cristóbal de Villalpando, among others

Session 3: 2/8/2020
“Revolution, Class Struggle and the Mexican Muralist School”

Today we’ll examine the work of the key Mexican Muralists, which developed following the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Artists we look at will include Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Session 4: 2/15/2020
“Modernism and the Synthesis of Roots”

Breaking Away from the Mexican Muralists in the mid-20th Century, artists such as Frida Kahlo, Rudolfo Tamayo, Emilio Amero, Amador Lugo. Rosa Rolanda, Dr. Atl (Gerardo Murillo), and many others developed a new vision for both the content and role of art. Today, we will examine this period and its significance in forming an identity for Mexican art.

Session 5: 2/22/2020 “A Merging of Styles and Purposes”
Today we will examine Mexican art as part of the school of the world. We’ll look at more contemporary religious, secular and folk genres to discover their significance in the “definition” of Mexican art, and summarize where Mexican art is today.

Course Format:
Course materials for each lesson will be posted each Wednesday. The Instructor provides all materials for this course including: visual presentations; recommended reading lists; articles of interest; and, other relevant printed materials.
Once Upon A Time – background info and relevant printed material will be provided
Visual presentation (this will include a slide presentation and ongoing class discussions)
Students may contact the Instructor via e-mail with questions, in between class sessions

Course Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
Identify some key works of art from the Mexican (and other) traditions, and discuss them in the contexts of Art History and the Humanities;
Discuss the relationships between past and present cultural traditions as they are articulated in Mexican art;
Identify and discuss the cross-fertilization of historical, political, religious, economic and visual influences embodied in the art of Mexico, from interdisciplinary perspectives;
Recognize the subject matter and content of the course in broader contexts

Attendance/Absence/Tardiness Policy: If you are registered for the class, please make every effort to be on time and participate.

Electronic Device Policy: Students are asked to turn ringer tones on their cell phones off during class—and to take any essential calls on their cell phones outside of the virtual classroom.

Meet your Instructor: Jill Kiefer

Dr. Jill Kiefer is an art historian and teaching artist.

Dr. Jill Kiefer is an art historian and teaching artist.

Dr. Jill Kiefer is an art historian and teaching artist. She is the Director of What About Art?—an organization devoted to bringing Art to Everyone, and the President of the Ossining Arts Council. Jill has developed and implemented comprehensive academic and lifelong learning programs at prestigious institutions in the USA and abroad. She was a member of the graduate faculty of the Humanities Dept. of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, and also taught for Pasadena City College, Glendale College, Westwood College, the Palos Verdes Art Center and the University of New Mexico. She has received several “Best Faculty” awards. Jill was a Federal Title V Grant Recipient four times for her work in Hybrid Learning, and she is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Jill is the Dean of Warnborough College’s Master’s and Doctoral programs in Cultural Art History, Fine Arts, and Media Studies. She also teaches art history and studio art for several lifelong learning programs in Westchester. Jill is the President of the Ossining Arts Council, and the Director of the Canterbury Arts Conference (CArtsCon) an international, annual event held each summer in the United Kingdom. A published writer and artist, Jill has an impressive and extensive resume. To learn more about her, please visit www.whataboutart.org

Instructor Contact Information:
Feel free to contact me via e-mail: jill@whataboutart.org


February 15
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Categories:


Bethany Arts Community
914 944-4278


Bethany Arts Community
40 Somerstown Rd.
Ossining, NY 10562 United States
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