Thank you all for joining us here today.
I would like to start today by thanking Miguel Fernández Felix, director of the Museo del Palacio Bellas Artes, Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, their distinguished team of curators, special guests and the media for their presence.
I can think of no better place to announce this important exhibition than the Mexican Cultural Institute—the home of Mexican culture here in the United States. The murals that you encounter along the staircase were commissioned in the early 1930s and were painted during the same period as the fabulous exhibition that we are here to announce today.
The arts play an important, but sometimes overlooked, function in the bilateral relationship between our two countries. That may sound surprising until we remember that one of the challenges of this—or any—relationship is to come to a mutual understanding of who we are. If we want to truly know one another, we must express ourselves and share those expressions with our friends and neighbors. It is here that the arts play an essential role.
Paint the Revolution captures a seminal artistic period in Mexico’s history in which our cultural expressions reached new heights and gained international renown. Many of the values embodied by artworks of that era are still very much with us today. Those values include honoring our Pre-Colombian past, working collectively towards greater social inclusion, and dedicating ourselves to progress and a national development that is both modern and distinctly Mexican. Moreover, the often dramatic works of Mexico’s modernists also depict the vibrant social life in our country which is a component of something I like to refer to as a culture of joy. For Americans seeking to understand Mexico through its art, the Paint the Revolution exhibition will be absolutely essential.
As you will see, the exhibition we will be discussing showcases the ideals that artists debated and fought for. It explores the contributions that generations of creative talents in Mexico made to shape the modern world. And it explores their dialogue with the wider world—including and especially the United States. In the first half of the last century, artists on both sides of the border grew from this productive dialogue, and the bold achievements that resulted have offered something special to every generation since, including ours.
Today, we honor a partnership that takes the form of a splendid exhibition, Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950.
It is the most comprehensive exhibition to explore the subject in the United States in more than 70 years, and it is the joint achievement of the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
To coincide with this event, we have curated the exhibit Mexico after Muralism, that displays highlights from the Kimberly Collection owned by the Mexican Cultural Institute.
I am delighted that Miguel Fernandez Felix, director of the MPBA, is with us today. I am equally pleased to be joined by Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the PMA. We are also joined by members of their distinguished team of curators, from whom you will hear as well.
It is now my pleasure to introduce Timothy Rub.