Virtual Expresiones de México, Arte de la Gente

Apr. 14, 2023

Apr. 14, 2023 @ 5:00 pm Aug. 20, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

The Virtual Exhibition

After the Mexican Revolution ended in 1920 the Mexican government made efforts to rebuild, modernize, and globalize the nation. The government acted to define a national creative culture and artistic tradition. What is now referred to as arte de la gente (art of the people), then known as arte popular (popular art) or folk art was presented to the world as a vibrant manifestation of Mexico’s history and heritage. Steps were actively taken to promote and encourage these artworks and artists, including funding exhibitions featuring this artwork.

These art practices, sometimes referred to as ‘pure Mexican art’ included ceramics and textiles, most prominently. After the revolution, there was a push, led by governmental leaders to valorize the common worker as a key virtue holder in the culture of Mexico. This push to heroicize the daily laborer as the base of Mexican culture created a natural path for highlighting artists creating arte de la gente.

Arte de la gente is difficult to summarize under a single definitive umbrella. The types, techniques, styles, and materials of the artwork vary greatly. The work also holds particular importance in the lives of Mexican people, with certain types of artwork being key in ceremonial, religious, and festive events, while other work is collected and made, simply for its’ aesthetic appeal. Although much of the artwork can be traced back to Pre-Colonial traditions, innovation and variation is highly prized, figuratively and literally, with higher prices going to creations done by skilled artists and awards being given to artists pushing their respective artwork styles forward.

As you view the exhibition, take time to appreciate the mastery of the techniques, creative choices by the artists, and the way in which these artworks describe a part of the continued creative legacy of Mexico.


Expresiones de México, Arte de la Gente, is divided into Nine themes: Defining Art, Continuing Traditions, Weaving La Vida, Beautifying the Ordinary, Recording Customs and History, Realizing the Surreal, Playing!, Recording History, and Creating Home

Prominent Visual Artists

The exhibition includes Irene Aguilar, Josephine Aguilar, Teodora Blanco Núñez, Javier de Jesús Hernández Martínez, Gorky González Quiñones, Felipe Linares, Herón Martínez Mendoza, Luis Manuel Morales Gamez, Juan Orta Castillo, María Guadalupe García Ríos, Tiburcio Soteno Hernández, Sergio Sánchez Santamaría, Manuel Jerónimo Reyes, José Luis Cortez Hernández, José de Jesús Álvarez Ramírez, Familia Alvarez, Santos Lucano Neri, Aurelia Regino Porras, Teófila Servín Barriga, Juan José Ramos Medrano, Dora Quezada, Luly Lucero, Alfonso Castillo Orta, David Hernandez, Mario Castellanos and Reina Ramirez, Damian Y Beatriz Morales Azucena Santiago Arrazola, Lupe Ontiveros, Juana Gómez Ramírez, Ángel Santos Juárez , Daniel Aguilar Benitez, Zenaida Rafael Julín, Magdalena Pedro Martínez, “Doña Rosa” (Rosa Real Mateo de Nieto, Roberto Mateos, Naty Ortega, Luis Cortez, Hilario Quezada Sr, Rauro Quezada, Olga Quezada Humbertol, Aluano Quezada, Nely Lopez, Salvador Vasquez Carmona, Roberto Bañuelos, Tava Silvero, Pantaleón Panduro, Roberto Cosillo/Corillo/Carillo/Casillo, Demetrio García Aguilar, Irma Blanco García, Sergio Lejarazu, Maria Rosa Rivera, Luis Guillermo Olay Barrientos, Brígido Lara, The Ortega Family, Concepción Aguilar, Elvira Bugarini

Defining Art

After the Mexican Revolution ended in 1920 the Mexican government made efforts to rebuild, modernize, and globalize the nation. The government acted to define a national creative culture and artistic tradition. What is now referred to as arte de la gente (art of the people), then known as arte popular (popular art) or folk art was presented to the world as a vibrant manifestation of Mexico’s history and heritage. Steps were actively taken to promote and encourage these artworks and artists, including funding exhibitions featuring this artwork.

These art practices, sometimes referred to as ‘pure Mexican art’ included ceramics and textiles, most prominently. After the revolution, there was a push, led by governmental leaders to valorize the common worker as a key virtue holder in the culture of Mexico. This push to heroicize the daily laborer as the base of Mexican culture created a natural path for highlighting artists creating arte de la gente.

Pre- colonial Mask with Earrings and Nose Plate(Replica), n.d. 1977
Paint on clay, 9.75″ x 11.75″ x 4.25″
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2013.88.1.1
Gift of Mary Ann and Joshua Thompson Frenk
Brígido Lara
Pre-colonial Figure (Replica), ca. 1950 – 1960
Clay, 24.75″ x 14″ x 12.5″
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 1000.14.1
Gift of IBM

Carlos Mérida
Trajes Regionales, 1945
Serigraph, 18.5″ x 25.5″
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2008.3.1
Gift of Jim Ludeke
Untitled, ca. 1940
Serigraph, 8.25″ x 5.25″
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2023.1.5.1
Gift of Edwin Rudolph Jordan

Online visitors can view Defining Art virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!

Continuing Traditions

Innovation plays an important role in the culture surrounding arte de la gente currently being created; exhibitions highlight artists that expand and develop new aesthetics and techniques, competitions take place, awarding artists that experiment with non-traditional colors and form, and collectors from around the world seek out vanguards of their particular art traditions.

An adherence to the creative spirit of traditional arte de la gente is also valued. Many of the creative traditions of arte de la gente can be traced back to pre-colonial times. Many of the artists in this section and throughout the exhibition adhere to traditional sculpture materials, techniques, and forms. The work of those artists are also highly valued, as their objects create a through line from contemporary to pre-colonial artists and times. 

Throughout the exhibition, pre-colonial imagery and symbols are present within masks used in ceremonies, árboles de la vida (trees of life), huichol designs, and symbolism found throughout several ceramic traditions. Many of these objects represent generations of passed-down creative traditions. 

Headdress for La Danza deL Señor Naranjo, n.d.
Paint in wood, tin, and ribbon, 58″ x 24 x 5.75″ Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2021.37.7.1
Gift of David and Mary Wilkinson
Robert Bañuelos
Vessel, n.d.
Polychrome and burnished ceramic 8″ x 8″ x 8″ Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2022.24.157.1
Gift of Joyce and David Moss

Sergio Sánchez Santamaría
Dialogue from ” Los Chinelos” Portfolio of 11 Linocuts, 2003
Linocuts on paper, 8″ x 12″
Tlayacapan, Morelos
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2022.28.1-15
Woman Tree of Life, n.d.
Polychrome ceramic, 17″ x 10.75″ x 7.5″
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2015.41.46.1

Online visitors can view Continuing Traditions virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!

Beautifying the Ordinary

To bring beauty into the home with seemingly ordinary objects is the goal of many artists in this exhibition. The artists in this section have taken everyday objects; jugs, basins, tea sets, vases and more, and enhanced the beauty and uniqueness each object possesses. With decades of inherited creative knowledge, these objects move from being merely utilitarian to becoming defined and robust artworks, worthy of aesthetic and conceptual appreciation. The artworks in this section range in all manner of shapes, sizes, mediums, colors, and finishes. As you examine the artworks in this section, take time to consider the amount of work dedicated to the choices and shaping of forms and surface treatments of each artwork.

Coin Bank Heads, n.d.
Paint on clay, Dimensions variable
Tonalá, Jalisco
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2020.24.308.1-7
Gift of Joyce and David Moss
Piña Vessel, n.d.
Glazed clay, 16.25″ x 11″ x 11″
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2020.24.114.1
Gift of Joyce and David Moss

Pedro García Martínez
Bird Tree of Life, n.d.
Paint on clay, 21.5″ x 17″ x 8″
Acatlán de Osorio, Puebla
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2019.3.2
Ignacio Punzo Ángel
Vessel, ca. 1990-2000
Copper, 9.25″ x 12″ x 12″
Santa Clara de Cobre, Michoacán
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2020.2.177.1
Gift of Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr.

Online visitors can view Beautifying the Ordinary virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!

Weaving La Vida

Mexican textiles are a key part of Mexican culture. The techniques, designs, dyes, and fabrics of Mexico are as varied as the peoples that make up this nation. Arte de la gente that includes the use of fabric responds to the heritage of indigenous groups and the influence of Spain.

Textiles, most commonly produced in the form of clothing, are widely produced throughout Mexico. Most artists depend on loom weaving presently, as the tool is still appropriate for daily use. In some communities, textile spinning in pre-Columbian fashion with a spindle and traditional fibers made from cotton or agave is still customary.

The use of textiles in Mexico extends beyond the creation of clothing. In this section you will find ojos de dios (eyes of god); spiritual instruments said to help the user see and understand the unknown. You will also see full dance attire included in Chinelo processions. 

The abundant variety of how fabric is used is evident throughout this section and is evidence of how these artists, with similar materials, have been able to find incredible creative potential. Interpretations of Huichol yarn paintings provided by Huichol artist Casimiro de la Cruz.

Prayer Book, 1978
Ink on paper and ribbon, 7″ x Length Folded
San Pablito, Puebla
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2023.12.1

Child Huichol Ensemble, n.d.
Consists of a bandana, blouse, and skirt
Mixed media, Dimensions variable
Northwest Mexico
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2023.8.7.1-2

Tenango Tablecloth, n.d.
Thread on muslin, 73.5″ diameter
Tenango de Doria, Hidalgo
Loan from Edwin Rudolph Jordan
The Largest Viper, n.d.
Yarn and beeswax on wood, 12″ x 12″
Northwest Mexico Collection 2015.41.50.1
Gift from Priscilla Murr

Online visitors can view Weaving La Vida virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!

Realizing the Surreal

Realizing the Surreal and Recording Customs and History is a combined section of Alebrijes, historical events and figures in Mexico.

The first half of this section is filled with fantastical animals in the form of alebrijes, naguales, and Oaxacan animal carvings inhabit this section. While looking at the artworks in this section, try to imagine a setting where these creatures are alive, surrounding you in a surreal forest. Which creatures in this section seem friendly? Which creatures seem mean? Which creatures seem playful? Through representations of three disciplines (Papier-mâché alebrijes, copal wood carvings, and ceramic naguales) we are able to see dreams materializing and are allowed to step into a bizarre and wonderful world.

Josefina Aguilar
Women with Alebrijes, n.d.
Paint on clay, Dimensions variable
Ocotlán de Morales, Oaxaca
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2015.41.42.1-4
Gift of Priscilla Murr
Felipe Linares
Alebrije, n.d.
Papier mache and acrylic, 27″ x 25″ x 32″
Mexico City, State of Mexico
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2015.41.36
Gift of Priscilla Murr

Juan José Ramos Medrano
Nagual, n.d.
Polychrome and shellacked ceramic, 10″ x 9.5″ x 4
Santa Cruz de las Huertas, Jalisco
Loan from Edwin Rudolph Jordan
Animal Tray, n.d.
Lacquer and paint on wood, 11″ x 17″
Olinalá, Guerrero
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2023.8.15.2

Online visitors can view Realzing the Surreal virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!

Creating and Playing

Creating and Playing is a combined section of the historical figures in Mexico being contrasted by everyday objects that offer a unique perspective on Mexican culture and history.

Creating Home:

Most of the artwork in Expresiones de México, Arte de la Gente / Art of the People were created solely for their aesthetic value, removed from utilitarian purposes as water vessels, teapots, serving dishes, etc. In this section we see how artists use their creative traditions and skills to create objects squarely created for use in the home, particularly, the kitchen. With objects like the molinillo, detail can be added, making it indistinguishable from an ornate sculpture, and we can see a spoon double as a common kitchen tool and a small canvas for a painting.

Recording History:

In the second part of this section artists represent and document historical figures and events of Mexico. The artwork in this section presents images of political figures that have become symbols of Mexican history and culture. Images like the Mexican Flag, father Hidalgo, former presidents, or a tool like a molinillo may be seemingly benign, but in a historical and artistic context, embody nationalism, independence, history, and culture, respectively. In this section, perhaps more than anywhere else in Expresiones de México, Arte de la Gente / Art of the People, we see how artists have used their practices to present a clear narrative and idea of Mexico. 

Pantaleón Panduro Núñez Family
Figures of Mexican Heads of State, n.d.
Paint on clay, 5.75″ x 2″ 1.5″
San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2022.29.1-28.1
Luis Guillermo Olay Barrientos
México para los Mexicanos, 2002
Straw painting, 31″ x 44.5″
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2014.28.1
Gift of Walter Hamilton White

Various Mexican Toys, n.d.
Wood and fabric, Dimensions variable
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection
Attributed to Josefina Aguilar
Set of Portrait Vessels, n.d.
Play on clay, Dimensions variable
Mexic-Arte Museum Collection 2019.7.1-4.1

Online visitors can view Creating and Playing virtually by visiting the Culture Connect link!


Patricia and Carmine DeVivi

Patricia and Carmine DeVivi (b.1929 – d.2017) generously donated to Mexic-Arte Museum masks from Western Mexico including the states of Guerrero and Michoacán, made of wood, leather and metal. This collection includes over 300 pieces and was donated in 2012. Mr. De Vivi began visiting indigenous villages in the 1950’s, collecting masks used in rituals and dances. Mr DeVivi also served four years in the U.S. Air Force in the OSI division.

Mr. DeVivi received his bachelor’s degree in advertising design from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA and his masters degree in fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania. He then went on to teach at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He and his wife Patricia moved to California and he continued to teach at the Athenian School in Danville, CA and the College of the Arts in Oakland, CA. After teaching, he became an entrepreneur, opening his own gallery and gift shop in Danville, CA called The Image Maker. During this time he continued to mentor while creating and exhibiting his own works of art, for which he received numerous awards and recognition. His artwork is owned, displayed and part of numerous private collections throughout the world. Patricia and Carmine DeVivi’s masks collection was previously featured in the Mexic-Arte exhibition, Masked: Changing Identities in 2013. 

About the masks of Mexico Mr. DeVivi stated, “They aren’t only beautiful pieces of artwork, but a representation of a culture’s history — and in their case, an invaluable treasure for those of Mexican descent who want to cherish and preserve their heritage.” Each mask’s vibrant colors and designs reflect Mexican traditions of indigenous craftsmanship, mythic narratives, and dance rituals.” Mr. DeVivi summed up his interest in the meaning of these masks, saying, “Masks that are reproductions of the human form, the minute you put a mask on, you act like something else, you interpret the situation differently, that’s probably one of the most important things to know about masks — a mask is an interpretation of your soul and the way you think, the way you perform and the way you respond.”

Robert “Holly” Hollingsworth

Robert “Holly” Hollingsworth (b.1926- d.2014) served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, Holly married Ann Prather and began a career as a journalist for the Dallas Times Herald. After serving as a political reporter and member of the White House press corps, Holly returned to Texas as the editor and COO of the paper. During retirement, Holly and Anne lived in Mexico for nine years to explore their passion for folk culture and travel, collecting arte de la gente along the way. Upon returning to Austin, Holly became active in the art community and a great supporter of Austin Friends of Folk Art. Mexic-Arte is proud to continue Mr. Hollingsworth’s legacy by presenting his collection of arte de la gente.

Ed Jordan

Ed Jordan has been enthusiastic about Mexico and its artistic traditions for most of his life. Mr. Jordan’s passion for Mexico has propelled him to numerous trips to Mexico to meet Mexican artists and acquire artwork from them. He has proven himself a only a skilled collector, with an eye for finding quality art in a myriad of shops, and a valuable holder and reservoir of knowledge about arte de la gente. Mexic-Arte has been fortunate to have Mr.Jordan act as one of the exhibition advisors for Expresiones de Mexico, Arte de la Gente / Art of the People.

Born and educated in Austin, Texas, he is a 5th generation Texan. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and served in the U.S. Army in the Military Police Customs Unit in Germany. After his time in the Army Mr. Jordan spent years in Dallas as an Art and Design Director for art studios and advertising agencies. He created the advertising for the State Fair of Texas in Dallas for over 10 years and did free-lance work for Neiman-Marcus. From 1988 to 1993, He taught art at Blinn College’s campus at the Federal Correctional Institution in Bastrop, Texas. As an artist himself, he has exhibited pen and ink drawings and serigraphy prints in art shows and festivals across the country, including at the Laguna Gloria Art Festival in Austin and in art museums in El Paso, Wichita Falls, Florida, Louisiana and Michigan.

David and Joyce Moss

Joyce and David Moss retired in the early 1990’s and settled in Mexico, becoming enamored by ceramics in the state of Tonala. From there, they continued to travel to regions like Chipas, Guanajuato, Mata Ortiz, Tlaquepaque, and Tzintzuntzan to acquire objects they were attracted to based on the execution of certain techniques or because of the joy that each piece brought them.

Priscilla Murr

Priscilla Murr (b.1942 – d.2015) was a renowned Jungian analyst and folk art collector. Her contributions to the Austin community cement her in the history and culture of Austin. She was the president of the Austin Friends of Folk Art and was involved with the Rock Art Foundation. Murr was also a large contributor to the preservation of Mexican art and culture in Austin. She studied Mexican mythology in the Mayan city of San Cristobal de las Casas, and owned an extensive collection of Mexican folk art, which she generously donated to Mexic-Arte Museum and exists as a major part of the Museum’s permanent collection.

Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr.

Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. (b.1946 – d.2021) a former reference librarian and subject specialist for art and Chicanx studies at The University of Texas at El Paso, generously donated his expansive collection of Latin American and Latinx art to Mexic-Arte Museum, which he had grown over 30 years. The Sandoval Collection is made up of over 1,500 artworks. It includes prints, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and popular art from the El Paso region, as well as Mexico. The Collection also contains hundreds of publications and ephemera. Juan Sandoval’s act of artistic good will has created the possibility for many generations to engage, investigate, and learn from the artwork he donated. On the subject of collecting he stated, “I have been a reluctant art collector all of my life,” and “I didn’t go out of my way to buy art.”, going on to say, “Art came to me and, by buying art from people I knew or who were sent to me, I was fortunate and built up a legacy which I will leave to some deserving organization.” Sandoval traveled often to the state of Oaxaca, which he considered his second home. On his travels he would also collect art.

On deciding to donate his collection to Mexic-Arte Museum, Sandoval stated that he wanted to donate his artwork to an institution that had the ability and intention to share his work with the community.Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr.s’ collection was previously featured in the Mexic-Arte Museum exhibition, Mexico, The Border and Beyond: Selections from the Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. Collection in 2020.

Marilyn and David Wilkinson

Marilyn and David Wilkinson have generously donated a collection of masks to the museum. Mr. Wilkinson has explained that since the early 1970s he and his wife visited Mexico more than 40 times and were able to visit 19 of the 31 states of Mexico. He has explained that his collection includes masks from several types of occasions and that what attracted he and Mrs. Wilkinson to the masks was their creativity, and how mask makers captured meaning and the spirit of dance with them. When asked about why he donated his collection to Mexic-Arte Museum, Mr. Wilkinson explained that a deciding factor was his belief in the mission of Mexic-Arte Museum sharing Mexican and Latin American culture, and a feeling that the museum was a comfortable fit for the Wilkinson’s collection.

Sylvia Orozco

Sylvia Orozco, originally from Cuero, Texas moved to Austin after high school to study painting at the University of Texas. After graduating from U.T. Orozco continued her education in Mexico City at the famed Academia de San Carlos, earning a Master of Fine Arts in mural painting. It was there that she began an art school teaching oil painting and color theory, and began collecting books, articles, ephemera, and photographs of Mexican art. After five years in Mexico, she returned to Austin intending to “start some sort of art gallery or art center” for Mexican artists — something that didn’t exist in the area. In 1984, she and two other artists, Pio Pulido, and Sam Coronado incorporated the Mexic-Arte Museum. Today, Mexic-Arte Museum is one of the few museums in the United States dedicated to Latinx art.

Bruce Hupp

Bruce Hupp has been generous in his donations of traditional masks to Mexic-Arte museum. He has stated that his collecting of masks began in 1964 in Guatemala, while in the Peace Corps. He has said that he became familiar with Mexic-Arte’s mission by becoming professionally acquainted with Sylvia Orozco, Mexic-Arte Museum’s Director and Founder, while in the Texas State Legislature. From learning about Mexic-Arte he believed that the museum would be a good steward of his collection.

Walter Hamilton White

Bruce Hupp Walter Hamilton White donated a collection of pottery by the artist Manuel Morales and a popotillo (straw painting) by Luis Guillermo Olay Barrientos. According to Gwen Kunz, Mr. White’s sister, the donation of his collection to Mexic-Arte was in line with upholding his wishes after he passed away. Furthermore, Kunz stated that White had studied interior design at Pratt Institute in New York, so he had an eye for design, and that he always loved Mexico and enjoyed purchasing and appreciating the artwork there. 

James V. Woodrick

James V. Woodrick has donated to Mexic-Arte Museum a large metate (stone grinding tool used for processing grain or seed). Mr. Woodrick has explained that he first acquired the metate more than 30 years ago near the ancient Casas Grandes community, in the state of Chihuahua. Mr Woodrick has stated that after several visits to Mexic-Arte Museum, he believed that the museum would be a good home for the treasured metate he had cared for for three decades.

Gayle Smith

Gayle Smith has generously donated a teacup set from Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. This set of ceramics was in Mrs.Smith’s family for over 50 years. Mrs. Smith was introduced to Mexic-Arte Museum during a local news segment, in which she was impressed with the mission and the presentation of exhibitions at the museum. With this belief in Mexic-Arte Museum coupled with her own will for these objects to be appreciated by a larger group she reached out to Mexic-Arte, offering to donate her objects to the museum’s collection and mission.

Jennifer Paulus

Jennifer Paulus has generously donated a substantial collection of sculptures of Herón Martínez Mendoza from his burnished period. Mrs. Paulus began collecting in the footsteps of her mother, who was also an enthusiast and collector of Martínez Mendoza’s artwork. Over the course of Jennifer’s travels she managed to visit Oaxaca more than 40 times, always having a desire to collect the beautiful artwork of Martínez Mendoza and others. Mexic-Arte museum is proud to accept and share with the community a collection that Mrs. Paulus loved.

Gallery Guide

Mexic-Arte Museum presents the impressive collection of artworks created by many artists utilizing techniques and skills passed down through generations.

View our complete gallery guide to learn more about the history, artists, and techniques used in the exhibition.


The PastPerfect Online portal is where you can further explore the entire permanent collection. You can be more specific and run queries depending on the art you’re interested in researching. Mexic-Arte Museum’s PastPerfect Online portal is always being updated with artworks newly acquired by the museum, so it’s worth investigating periodically. 

Thank you to our generous Sponsors

This project is supported in part by the City of Austin Economic Development Department