After Mexico’s revolution of 1910–1920, intellectuals sought to forge a
unified cultural nation out of the country’s diverse populace. Their
efforts resulted in an “ethnicized” interpretation of Mexicanness that
intentionally incorporated elements of folk and indigenous culture. In
this rich history, Rick A. López explains how thinkers and artists,
including the anthropologist Manuel Gamio, the composer Carlos Chávez,
the educator Moisés Sáenz, the painter Diego Rivera, and many less-known
figures, formulated and promoted a notion of nationhood in which
previously denigrated vernacular arts—dance, music, and handicrafts such
as textiles, basketry, ceramics, wooden toys, and ritual masks—came to
be seen as symbolic of Mexico’s modernity and national distinctiveness.
López examines how the nationalist project intersected with
transnational intellectual and artistic currents, as well as how it was
adapted in rural communities. He provides an in-depth account of
artisanal practices in the village of Olinalá, located in the
mountainous southern state of Guerrero. Since the 1920s, Olinalá has
been renowned for its lacquered boxes and gourds, which have been
considered to be among the “most Mexican” of the nation’s arts. Crafting Mexico
illuminates the role of cultural politics and visual production in
Mexico’s transformation from a regionally and culturally fragmented
country into a modern nation-state with an inclusive and compelling
national identity. Buy it on Amazon.

Publication Details

Crafting Mexico: Intellectuals, Artisans, and the State after the Revolution
Lopez, Rick Anthony
Duke University / Duke University Press
Publish Date
September 2010
Lopez, Rick Anthony, Crafting Mexico: Intellectuals, Artisans, and the State after the Revolution (Duke University / Duke University Press, September 2010).