New Ransom Center exhibit explores art, culture of 20th-century Mexico

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Photo Credit: Andre Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

Vibrant paintings and ancient antiques line the walls of the Harry Ransom Center, taking viewers back to Mexico’s past.

Starting this Monday, “Mexico Modern,” assembled by guest curators Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins, will be open to the public until January.

Albrecht and Mellins spoke Friday about the art and culture exchange between the United States and Mexico from 1920 to 1945. The discussion, broadcast on Facebook Live, was meant to promote their new exhibit.

“The principal idea that we’re communicating is that art movements don’t just spring up out of nowhere,” Mellins said. “They’re often not confined to a single country, and they happen because of the efforts of individuals and institutions.”

Albrecht and Mellins have been working on the project since 2013 through a fellowship with the Ransom Center.

“In a way, the content of the exhibit and the way in which the exhibit came to be parallel each other,” Mellins said. “The show is about networks, but it came together because all of these collections themselves form a kind of network.”

Mellins said all of the artwork is connected in some way, which adds to the theme of the exhibit.

“There is a community of people that through the collaboration of their efforts creativity can come about,” Albrecht said.

Jeniffer Perales, a government, Spanish and Latin American studies senior, said she is eager for the exhibit to open because it captures everything she loves about her majors. 

“This is basically everything I enjoy researching and studying, but in a different aspect,” Perales said. “It’s really interesting to see what I study like this, and it’s part of history that is very near and dear to me as someone who studies Mexican history.”

Albrecht and Mellins said they believe there are connections and opportunities through art that create a special type of network.

“Each time we’re looking at somebody, their work is somehow connected to someone else,” Mellins said.

Albrecht and Mellins said they are proud to be a part of the multitude of works the Ransom Center has featured.

“It feels really great, and I also have to say, it’s an amazing institution,” Mellins said. “It’s just great to be back on the campus, and the Ransom Center just has such unbelievable riches, so it feels good to be back here.”