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Cosmopolitanism in Mexican Visual Culture

By María Fernández

Publication Year: 2014

Viewing four centuries of art and architecture anew through the lens of cosmopolitanism, this pathfinding book explores how Mexican visual culture presents an ongoing process of negotiation between the local and the global.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I owe thanks to the many individuals and institutions that supported me in writing this book. I am grateful to Professor Shirley Samuels, chair of the Department of the History of Art at Cornell University (2006–2012), for recognizing the ripeness of this moment to publish this work. ...

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pp. 1-25

Cosmopolitanism in Mexican visual culture appears here in a series of case studies taken in historical slices from the seventeenth century to the end of the twentieth century. Cosmopolitanism is understood here as an evolving complex of power relations with material, social, ideational, and affective manifestations, which unite the local and the global, ...

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1. Vernacular Cosmopolitanism: Sigüenza y Góngora’s Teatro de Virtudes Políticas

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pp. 26-67

On May 7, 1680, Charles II of Spain appointed Don Tomás Antonio de la Cerda y Aragón, Conde de Paredes, Marqués de la Laguna, as the twenty-eighth viceroy of New Spain. On September 7, after a three-month journey from Cadiz passing through the Canary Islands and the Antilles, the new viceroy and his entourage disembarked at the Port of Veracruz. ...

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2. Castas, Monstrous Bodies, and Soft Buildings

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pp. 68-102

It is no secret that traditional discourses of classical architecture are founded on analogies to the human body. In the third volume of The Ten Books of Architecture, the Roman architect Vitruvius established what would become a permanent union between the proportions of the (male) body and classical architecture. ...

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3. Experiments in the Representationof National Identity: The Pavilion of Mexico in the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris a nd the Palacio de Bellas Artes

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pp. 103-140

After independence in 1821, the Mexican elites’ previous identification with Spain took the form of a general identification with Europe and later with the United States. This resulted in imitation of European and U.S. cultural patterns. Simultaneously, Mexico’s leaders continued to look at the most developed indigenous civilizations, especially the Aztec Empire, ...

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4. Of Ruins and Ghosts: The Social Functions of Pre-Hispanic Antiquity in Nineteenth-Century Mexico

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pp. 141-172

Archaeological remains are more than traces of civilizations past. Like other sites of nation-building they serve as stages for the contestation of multiple interests. Official histories, tourist literature, art history, and archaeology often obscure these tensions by focusing on the impressive materiality of the monuments and on deciphering their original significance (Fig. 4.1). ...

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5. Traces of the Past: Reevaluating Eclecticism in Nineteenth-Century Mexican Architecture

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pp. 173-193

Nineteenth-century Mexican architecture is widely recognized as eclectic. Especially from about 1880 to the first decade of the twentieth century, Mexican cities exhibited buildings of multiple stylistic tendencies, including neoclassical, Baroque, neo-Gothic, and art nouveau, indicative of a cosmopolitan consciousness. ...

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6. Visualizing the Future: Estridentismo, Technology, and Art

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pp. 194-220

In the twentieth century Mexico extended its reach toward modernity. Technologies such as telephones, electric lighting, automobiles, cinema, and radio; industrial materials such as glass, steel, and cement; modern building styles, air travel, and television were disseminated to a wider proportion of society than in the preceding century.1 ...

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7. Re-creating the Past: Ignacio Marquina’s Reconstruction of the Templo Mayor de Tenochtitlan

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pp. 221-273

The temple precinct of Tenochtitlan occupies a canonical status in the history of Mexican art and culture. As depicted in the sixteenth-century Codex Mendoza (Fig. 7.1) and described by numerous chroniclers, the site of the precinct marks the center of the Aztec Empire and the foundation of the Mexica capital in 1325. ...

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8. Transnational Culture at the End of the Millennium: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s “Relational Architectures”

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pp. 274-300

During the period of December 26, 1999, to January 7, 2000, from 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M., Mexico’s City’s Zócalo was covered by an enormous canopy of light rays, visible from a distance of 15 kilometers. The rays changed position every six seconds, resulting in a new light design. ...

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pp. 301-304

The studies in this book demonstrate that cosmopolitanism in Mexico was closely linked to colonization. International learning and belief structures and communication networks established in the colonial period were saturated with indigenous forms of knowledge and expression. ...


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pp. 305-372


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pp. 373-418


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pp. 419-438

Image Plates

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pp. 450-465

E-ISBN-13: 9780292745360
E-ISBN-10: 0292745362
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292745353
Print-ISBN-10: 0292745354

Page Count: 464
Illustrations: 102 photos, 20 color in one 16-page insert
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture
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OCLC Number: 863486146
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Cosmopolitanism in Mexican Visual Culture

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Art, Mexican -- Themes, motives.
  • Architecture -- Mexico -- Themes, motives.
  • Eclecticism in art -- Mexico.
  • Eclecticism in architecture -- Mexico.
  • National characteristics, Mexican.
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