10 Famous Mexican Artists You Don’t Want to Miss
If you’re an art enthusiast and looking for inspiration at art museums is first on your travel itinerary, then this blog post on famous Mexican contemporary artists is a must for you!
Mexico continues to be one of the breeding grounds for many of the most influential artists of all time—whose unique works prove worthwhile to explore. In this article I have set up a striking list of 10 renowned contemporary Mexican artists I’m confident will add a memorable value to your next journey. Let’s begin with a few highlights on contemporary art.
What is Contemporary Art?
When we think of art pieces, such as paintings, and sculptures, we tend to think of older times and old-fashioned artists. However, Contemporary Art encompasses the works by artists of this day and age whose talent is still around us. The “Modern-Day Movement” has been among us since the mid 1960’s—a time known as the end of modernism.
Pop art, photorealism, conceptualism, minimalism, and street art have all assembled into the concept of contemporary art, which has been on the radar of famous Mexican artists lately.
Latin America may not have a strong history of support towards art, but these famous Mexican modern artists will spark your interest in new sculptors, painters, and more!
5 Famous Female Mexican Artists
1. Milena Muzquiz
Milena is one of the most famous painters and sculptors from Mexico. The 48-year-old artist was born in Tijuana, and obtained her degree in Fine Arts from the California College of Fine Arts, San Francisco. She continued her studies at the Art Centre College of Design, Pasadena—where she learned extensively from the legendary artist Mike Kelley. She currently resides in California.
Her work has traveled the world in exhibits like:
- David Gill Gallery, London (2019)
- Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, part of Getty Foundation’s program (2017)
- Travesía Cuatro, Madrid, Spain (2017, 2014)
- Travesía Cuatro, Guadalajara, Mexico (2014)
- Pantaleone Gallery, Palermo, Italy (2010)
- Interior Projects, Los Angeles (2008)
- Deitch Projects, New York (2000)
According to the artist herself, her paintings on ceramics represent poetry of living things given that a “disorganized accumulation of elements seeks to imitate the uneven and contradictory way in which the human mind works.”
Her sculptures are highly decorative and sometimes functional, although that is not their main focus. She claims they represent characters that eventually create wordless theatrical environments.
To achieve this, Muzquiz works with ceramics in her unique way—she cuts it, adds pieces here and there, and combines other materials like pendants to add even more color to her sculptures. She describes them as three-dimensional collages that represent how fragmented life is and they express her feeling of freedom.
As if her talent wasn’t enough, she also creates paintings to express fleeting moments that sometimes escape our vision—they also work as backgrounds for her characterized sculptures and amplify her sceneries into personal and profound stories.
Milena Muzquiz is featured in Emerging Mexican Artists, so make sure to check out her gorgeous sculptures!
2. Georgina Bringas
Rightfully considered among famous native Mexican artists, she got her degree in Plastic Arts in 2003 from Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado ‘’La Esmeralda.”
Mainly, her pieces are exhibited in Galería Le Laboratoire, Vicente Suárez 69 street, in La Condesa, Mexico.
Through her work, she reflects on the abstraction of space and time within plastic art. Her pieces rely on preciseness and measurements.
She quotes a Scottish scientist, Lord Kelvin, “When you can measure that of what you’re talking about, and express it with numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it with numbers, your knowledge is scarce and unsatisfactory. Measuring can be the beginning of knowledge.”
Her will to evidence routinary events, as she inhabits and tours the space around her, drives her artistic goal. In her work, she intends to give value to experiences and objects as a way of evidencing what we cannot see—she interprets daily situations on a personal level and pretends to measure them to reflect them on her art.
Eventually, she utilized her interest in measuring and applied it to her own art. She brought these concepts into her pieces in order to design patterns, systems, and instruments that gave her more information about her surroundings to then depict them in her art.
As a result of the exploration of her surroundings, she assembled elements of measurements and applied this preciseness into her work.
Read more about her artistic process: Medir es Aprender by Georgina Bringas.
3. Minerva Cuevas
She was born in Mexico City and resides there to this day. She holds a degree in visual arts from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (Mexico City). She also benefited from the Media Art of the Foundation of Lower Saxony at the Edith-Russ-Haus scholarship in 2004.
If we tried to bullet list all the exhibits of Minerva Cuevas’ work, this article would never end.
However, between this year and the last, she has been part of these group shows to represent famous Mexican artists around the world:
- Siembra. Kurimanzutto, Ciudad de México (2020 and 2021)
- Constructions of truths. The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila, Philippines
- Le super marché des images. Jeu de Paume, Paris
- Mediacity Biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
- Raupenimmersattism. The Affluent Society As Consumed Society Or The Myth Of Endless Production and Consumption. SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin
- TITAN, NewYork. Stalin’ Alive. Another Space, New York
Through paintings, sculpture, video, and photography, she channels her goal of making an impact on the way the world sees food industries and their administration of natural resources, and how these affect the planet.
In other pieces, with the subtlety of irony and humor, she reflects on the positive impact that local groups could have on the creation of fair work conditions.
Utilizing the language of establishment, she gives out a message of disagreement and resistance against reality and the conventional notions of value, exchange and ownership that capitalism has embedded in our society.
View her rebellious, accurate, straightforward art on kurimanzutto.
4. Fritizia Irizar
She was born in Culiacán, Mexico in 1977 and, loyal to her roots, she still works there.
She obtained a scholarship for the BACOMER-MAGG program in 2011, and she was also chosen by Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) in the United States and in Austria’s AIR-KREMS residency program in 2013.
With an artistic agenda that represents many, Fritzia has been a part of several expositions to give out her message to the world.
- Fritzia Irízar: CaCO3 at OCMA (Orange County Museum of Art)
- Cycles of Collapsing Progress, at BeMA (Beirut Museum of Art)
- XIV Bienal de Cuenca: Estructuras vivientes. El arte como experiencia plural, at Fundación Municipal Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador
- Colección Isabel and Agustín Coppel, Mexico
- Cisneros Fontanals Foundation, United States
In a revolutionary act similar to the previous Mexican artist, Fritzia’s inspiration comes from her disagreement towards the power money has in our world. She attempts to give a new economic and symbolic value to some objects and includes them in her art.
Fritzia emphasizes on the ways in which physical appearances affect how we perceive objects. Her materials of choice are salt crystals and diamonds—two objects that look similar but are worlds apart in market value.
She focuses on the emotional, economic, and cultural values assumed by objects, interrogating the systems that propagate, authenticate, and sustain these beliefs. Her main interests are geological objects of mythical and economic value.
Enjoy more of Fritzia’s powerful artwork: Fritzia Irizar Catalog.
5. Magdalena Pedro Martínez
Like her family in San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, this indubitably famous Mexican artist chooses ceramics in her expression of art—though originally trained as a medical doctor.
In her pursuit of broadening her culture’s reach, she was part of Borders and Neighbors: Craft Connectivity Between the U.S. and Mexico exhibition at El Pueblo de Los Angeles (2017-2018).
Her sculptures stand out for her impeccable use of barro negro (black mud) as she moulds it into female figures dressed in the traditional costumes of the regions of the state of Oaxaca. As expected in a country with so much pride in their roots, she claims her art implies doing her part to preserve her wonderful culture and traditions.
5 Famous Male Mexican Artists
1. Raúl de Nieves
Raúl de Nieves was born in Michoacán. The art of excess and vibrance is his specialty.
His art has led him to reside in Brooklyn, New York, though he was born in Michoacán, México in 1983. He moved to San Diego, California at the age of 9, after his family and school had taken part in his learning of traditional sewing and beadwork—both are the essence of his art.
Painting, sculpture, music, and even ornamental shoes and garments, his work has been exhibited in:
- As Far As UUU Take Me
- Company Gallery
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- MoMA San Francisco
- The Whitney Museum
His notable ornamental shoes are created with beadwork. They’re described as glamorous, captivating and a fairytale disguised in fashion.
He creates outstanding overabundant ambiances in an attempt to narrate his own stories, utilizing materials that are only ordinary to us.
He also produces faux stained-glass windows with materials like cellophane and tape. He is known to personalize ambiances with amazing lightning and human-scaled costumes made out of layered beads.
Raúl de Nieves has worked with photographers Mario Sorrenti and Karl Lagerfeld, and V Magazine, W Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker have featured his work.
Visualize more of his art: Raúl de Nieves.
2. Gabriel Rico
Educated in ITESO (Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente), Guadalajara, Gabriel Rico is an architect and sculptor.
He was born in 1980 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico; loyal to his roots, he’s chosen to make his living in Guadalajara.
Acclaimed among famous Mexican artists, his minimalist unique art has taken him to exhibit his pieces all over the United States, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal.
Relevant shows include:
- The Quintessence of Consciousness’, Curated by Degard, The Royal College of Art, South Kensington, London, United Kingdom (2020)
- Golden Hour, curated by Ingrid Brochard, Le Musée Mobile Nouvelle Génération (MuMO), Lille, France (2019)
- Almost Solid Light: New Work From Mexico, curated by Mario Navarro, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, New York (2018)
- Perrotin in Seoul, South Korea (2019)
He claims his art is an amalgamation of found random objects, neon colors, and sometimes taxidermy. The result of his chosen materials is geometrical art that seeks to combine nature with fabricated elements to deliver asymmetrical pieces—a reflection of how our culture and politics can be part of the same society yet have different interests and approaches.
His inspiration emerges from Arte Povera, a branch of abstraction made from objects considered to be used by “poor” people, in other words, inexpensive, easily found materials.
He explores the tension and contrast between humor, irony, and beauty by using objects not usually thought of as esthetic and elegant to turn them into gibbous crafts.
Visualize more of Gabriel Rico’s admixture of elements: Emerging Mexican Artists
3. Iñaki Bonillas
Iñaki is a 40-year-old, Mexico City born and based artist. At the age of 22, he was already part of “Utopia Station” the 50th annual art exhibition in Venice, and other group shows in Berlin, undoubtedly representing famous Mexican artists and their evident talent.
He has exposed his art both solo and in group shows, some of which stand out:
- “Secretos.” Casa Luis Barragán, Mexico City (2016)
- “Arxiu J.R. Plaza.” Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona (2012)
- “Circular Thinking: an Anthology.” MAM, Mexico City (2009)
- “Companion Pieces: New Photography 2020” MoMA, New York (2020)
While many would consider Iñaki as just a photographer, the essence of his artistic approach lies in the production of his photographs. He relies on technique and the selection of formats to obtain pictures that merge colors, sizes, contrast and even quality.
After producing his photographs, Iñaki doesn’t reduce his exhibits to simple scrapbooks or framed photos. He focuses deeply on esthetic pre-meditated ways of presenting his work.
Voyage autour de ma chambre is the result of Bonilllas’ months-long work of collecting postcards from strangers online. He compiled 42 postcards and exhibited them as a travel diary to be read with a magnifying glass. This piece is proof of the relevance of being creative in every aspect of your works of art.
Explore Iñaki Bonilla’s wide catalog: Emerging Mexican Artists
4. Javier M. Rodríguez
Born in Guadalajara in 1980, his diverse art includes sculpture, painting and video installation.
With several creative pieces, he has represented famous Mexican artists in various exhibits:
- Wide (characters leave the scene) Casa Taller José Clemente Orozco, Guadalajara (2016)
- La terquedad de las cosas, Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City (2015)
- Nada más que las horas, Museo de arte de Zapopan (2013)
He materializes cinematography and makes the observer a part of his art. He brings out two-dimensional sceneries into three-dimensional ones through the use of objects and structures that the spectators activate as they move. He also claims that he focuses on avoiding linear narrative.
Visualize more of his creative, interactive work: Emerging Mexican Artists
5. Jorge Méndez Blake
Passionate about poetry and literature, this Mexican artist was born in Guadalajara in 1974. Just like Gabriel Rico, Méndez Blake attended ITESO (Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Oriente) to graduate as an Architect in 1997. Although his work has taken him abroad, he still resides in his birthplace.
He has participated with other famous mexican painters and sculptors in major art shows like:
- How The Light Gets In. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, United States, 2019
- Territorios de la memoria, 1985-2019. Museo de Arte Moderno, Ciudad de México, México, 2019
- La construcción de lo posible, participating in XIII Bienal de la Habana. La Habana, Cuba, 2019.
- The Unwritten Library. After Babel. Annex M Trilogy, Athens, Greece, 2018.
He has taken his knowledge of architecture to create art pieces like drawings, sound art, sculptures, paintings, and videos. Using poetry as his muse, he takes his preferred poems and stories and brings them to life as contemporary art. He likes to combine historical and geographical elements that look to encourage the habit of reading more about culture and history.
Visualize Blake’s architectural artwork: Jorge Méndez Blake
Visit Mexico and Speak Spanish!
Hopefully, I’ve given a quick yet thorough tour around famous Mexican artists that have represented their country proudly around the world, and some of them caught your attention!
Be sure that the next time you’re planning on visiting a Mexican museum, your Spanish is top-notch by signing up to a free class with a native Spanish speaker today!
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