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Tamayo often spoke about generosity and education (given that no Mexican museum contained a work of modern art

that would sensitize the local public), but it seems clear that his interest in building a collection also responded to his own need to create, within Mexico, an international context that would facilitate the interpretation of his own body of work, thus allowing him to differentiate himself from other artists of his generation and from the Mexican Painting School. Olivier Debroise, 2001

In the year 2000, art historian Olivier Debroise curated the show Tamayo en el torbellino de la modernidad, while also calling into critical question the underlying objectives of the creation of the Museo Tamayo. Similar to the life story of the Oaxacan artist, the roots of this institution lie in the polemic between nationalistic muralism (whose maxim was based on David Alfaro Siqueiros statement of 1944: There is no other route than ours) and the internationalist vision defended by Rufino Tamayo. The Museo Tamayo has acted as a forum spotlighting international contemporary art in Mexico, subsidized by private initiative. Though distanced from the hegemonic years of the Mexican School, the museums mission came about as a consequence of modern disputes between figuration, realism, abstraction, muralism, easel painting and the aspiration toward universal art. There are Other Routes than Ours is designed to create a field of aesthetic tension between the collections of the Museo de Arte Prehispnico Rufino Tamayo in Oaxaca and this museum of international art in Mexico City. Not unlike the artistic conflicts that breathed life into the Museo Tamayo, the show

includes pre-Hispanic, modern and contemporary works of art in order to contrast the different ways that the indigenous aesthetic and mainstream international canons (whether they be from the modern age or from more recent expressions) have been assimilated. To this end, the works and documents included in this show evoke the realism of the Mexican Painting School, to the extent that they contrast the nationalistic rhetoric with the abstract languages of international art and the contemporary strategies of the symbolic and critical appropriation of the idealism of modernity. The selection of works is based on their material pictorial qualities, the ambivalent relationship among abstraction, pre-Columbian figuration, artisanal techniques, as well as rural landscapes and folk and media depictions of advertisements and urban signage. Furthermore, the presence of Josep Grau-Garrigas large-format tapestry Henequn rojo y negro (1981) alongside Gabriel Orozcos Mural Sol (2000) and Teresa Margolles Muro Baleado (2009), prompt us to think about other narratives that reflect the cosmological and universal modernity of Tamayos contemporaries. In general, the relationships among these works are not so much historiographic as they are based on other aesthetic routes, postures and models which confront each other at the same time as they show, in the international languages of art, complex social realities.



Teresa Margolles. Muro Baleado (Culiacn), 2009. Collection Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporneo, inba-Conaculta

It seems to me that the numerous discourses on historical memory and its representation very often overlook the complementary relationship which exists between reality and museums. The museum is not secondary to real history, and nor is it merely a reflection and documentation of what really happened outside its walls according to the autonomous laws of historical development. The contrary is true: reality itself is secondary in relation to the museumthe real can be defined only in comparison with the museum collection. This means that change in the museum collection brings about change in our perception of reality itselfafter all, reality can be defined in this context as a sum of all things not having been collected yet. Boris Groys1

The works selected for this show include modern paintings as well as some of the Museo Tamayos recent acquisitions of contemporary art. The different approaches draw on the similarities and differences among the pieces to raise the question of how museums, their collections and art in general establish aesthetic models to negotiate with reality. When shown in conjunction with specific objects, the emphasis on textural aspects and symbols and the apparent contradiction between Bill Brandts realistic photography and Siqueiros claim that there was no other routereveals contrasts between the aesthetic experience of the works and the museums exterior reality which they frame. The show highlights the play of forces between the museums interior and exterior realities. In this manner, it questions the ways in which museums approach and configure the real, whether in the mythicizing subjection of modernity as compared to archaic cultures, or in the different ways that contemporary artworks insert aspects of reality into the museum. Among the works and textures, figures, symbols and objects there are interwoven experiences that bring reality closer and push it away, that mythicize the past or repudiate folk and pre-Hispanic world views. After modernity, the museum became a setting for the combination of universal images and the partial visions that could both sublimate and demythologize arts relationship with the world.

1 The quotations from the German art theorist Boris Groys come from his text On the New. The reason we have made reference to this author in particular is that the program of activities associated with this show includes a seminar with him.



The difference between traditional, modernist and contemporary art strategies is, therefore, relatively easy to describe. In the modernist tradition, the art context was regarded as stable it was the idealized context of the universal museum. Innovation consisted in putting a new form, a new thing, in this stable context. In our time, the context is seen as changing and unstable. So the strategy of contemporary art consists of creating a specific context which can make a certain form or thing look other, new and interestingeven if this form was already collected before. Boris Groys

The modern paintings in the Museo Tamayo collection introduce archaic values that reject academicist canons and rethink the surface of the painting as a reality in and of itself. The textural, material and artisanal qualities of the selected works propose an aesthetic organization that strays from the naturalistic representation of the real. However, these new symbolic realities link the past to the present, and configure a mythical vision of modernity. The reality of archetypal textures and symbols implies the intuition of universality, which was the aesthetic position that Tamayo advocated to counter the realism of the Mexican Painting School. For its part, contemporary art embeds reality within the museum environment. Examples of this are the bullet-ridden brick wall that looks like a minimalist sculpture, and a beer ad whose stereotypical and touristic vision of Mexico may be equated to the tradition of official muralism, by means of the comparison between the evocative imaginary of the exported product and the symbolic machinery of the post-revolutionary state.


Gabriel Orozco. Mural Sol, 2000 Courtesy of the artist and Galera kurimanzutto, Mexico

Carlos Amorales. Interior vs exterior, 1997 - 2003 (Detail) Collection Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporneo, inba-Conaculta

Artisanal reproduction techniquessuch as Gabriel Orozcos enlargements of the Cerveza Sol label and the multiple copies made by professional sign painters of paintings by Francis Alsrely on the reproduction of images to break with the paradigm of originality and thus call into question the value of the unique and unrepeatable artwork extolled by modernity. Teresa Margolles sculpture of bricks pierced by a hail of bullets literally brings into the museum a section of wall that shows the reality of a society plagued by violence. In this context, such works force us to rethink the moral and mythologized vision of the artistic gesture as something that defended folk and nonWestern cultures during Tamayos modern period. Furthermore, the struggle between interior and exterior symbolized by Carlos Amorales confrontation between his self and his masked alter-ego, or Jonathan Monks work that reverses and rotates the sign of the legendary Hotel Palenque results in obscure psychological worlds, or derelict, rural and entropic worlds that invert the popular imaginary of the fantastic.



Even if the material existence of an individual artwork is guaranteed for a certain length of time, the status of this artwork as artwork always depends on the context of its presentation as part of a museum collection. But it is extremely difficultactually impossibleto stabilize this context over a long period of time. This is, perhaps, the true paradox of the museum: the museum collection serves the preservation of artefacts, but the collection itself is always extremely unstable, constantly changing and in flux. Boris Groys

The modern aesthetic, which rejected Renaissance principles of naturalistic representation, was also opposed to the realistic conventions of muralism. Tamayos collection of easel paintings asserted a new universal mystique between international art and the different ways in which local or ancient cultures were assimilated, while contemporary works reinforced a demythologized and critical relationship with their own institutionalization. As such, these practices called into question the contexts created by collections and museums, in the sense that they are marks of international visibility that channel the reception of our social, political and cultural reality. Eduardo Abaroas project, done ex profeso for this show, presents a counterpoint to the institutional exploitation of pre-Hispanic cultures, whether it takes the form of the official realism of muralism, the anthropology museum, or the international museum as a link between the past and the universal supposition of artistic values. Both the cultural policies of post-revolutionary Mexico and Rufino Tamayos concept of modernity found in art a successor to Mesoamerican civilizations. This selection of pieces from the collection of the Museo de Arte Prehispnico Rufino Tamayo in Oaxaca casts doubt on the museum context and its strategies of stabilization and inclusion of autochthonous cultures, which stem from nationalistic policies that glorify the past rather than drawing attention to their current social condition.



Eduardo Abaroa (Mexico City, 1968) Three Examples of Cultural Reproduction, 2013 In this project, commissioned specifically for the show There are Other Routes than Ours, three distinct actions come into play, alluding to the different processes for transmitting cultural characteristics, behaviors and knowledge in contemporary societies. In the first action, I use concrete, chisel and hammer to recreate the texture covering the walls and exterior of the Museo Tamayo. Spectators will be able to see and hear the execution of this manual labor in a studio set up for this purpose within the museum during the time that the show is open to the public. The second action is the reproduction of seven pre-Hispanic pieces from the collection of Museo de Arte Prehispnico Rufino Tamayo in the city of Oaxaca, selected bearing in mind Tamayos interest in capturing the creative genius of the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica rather than simply the pieces anthropological or archaeological value. The seven original pieces also form part of the exhibit.

As a third element, I propose the mass production of a souvenir for the Museo del Mundo Maya, opened in 2012 and built by a subsidiary of Grupo Hermes, owned by the Mexican businessman, Carlos Hank Rhon. The project explores the link between these three important museums. Its specific actions and materials invite reflection on the conditions under which the discourse on pre-Hispanic and modern art is produced. Thus, the Museo Tamayo becomes a unique example of the evolution of ideological constructions of Mexican identity based on the individual efforts of this artist from Oaxaca during the 1970s, up to the involvement of private initiative in cultural diffusion which has become increasingly controversial but also indispensable. At the same time as the manual and artisanal work, I am carrying out an iconographic and documentary research project, traces of which can be seen throughout the installation. The project alludes to the physical and economical construction of institutions by means of the repetition of the manual movements of construction workers. The presence of a souvenir brings into focus the problem of the instrumentalization of the archaeological record of Mesoamerican cultures, whose living heirs are habitually displaced in the interest of progress and touristic and environmental exploitation.



Zoomorphic figure (monkey) Clsico, Centro de Veracruz 200 750 d.c. Museo de Arte Prehispnico Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca

Cranial deformations Clsico, Centro de Veracruz 200 750 d.c. Museo de Arte Prehispnico Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca

Josep Grau-Garriga (Barcelona, 1929 - Angers, France, 2011) Red and Black Henequen, 1980 - 1981 Soft high-warp sculpture of wool, henequen and cotton 55 x 13 m
One of the characteristics of any genuine work of contemporary art is that it does not need to rely on any mirror-image resemblance in order for the thing represented to be identical to that which is represented, to reality. Additionally, I would say that the more Grau-Garriga strays from the mirror-image of the things to which his work alludes, the closer he comes to presenting their true dimension, their real meaning. Arnau Puig, 1985

Josep Grau-Garriga (1928-2011) began his artistic career as a fresco painter in his city of origin, Sant Cougat del Valls, just outside Barcelona. Born to a peasant family, the artist introduced to the rural landscape and its textures and furrows a new pictorial concept based on tapestries. By treating this support from the perspective of field rather than line, and experimenting with the expressivity of materials and their textures, the artist created the Escola Catalana de Taps in the 1950s. With informalist influences, his work evolved into a program of colors, whose emphasis on the fibers textural aspects was not limited to their visuality, but rather focused increasingly on tactility and the interconnections between muralism and tapestry.

Red and Black Henequen (1981) is a tapestry/sculpture done ex profeso for the Museo Tamayo as a kind of homage to the muralist tradition. By using henequen, which is a fiber extracted from agave since pre-Hispanic times, Grau-Garriga was able to explore the strength of this fiber as a metaphor for ancient Mexico and its class struggle. The colors red and black, associated with labor unions and strikes, lend political significance to what might otherwise be seen as a merely abstract and formal concept. As a life-long opponent of Francoism and sympathizer with Catalan nationalism, Grau-Garrigas body of work explored the expressivity of materials and symbols. His interest lay in how these tactile and abstract records remitted to a social and political reality. In this sense, his work finds the universal dimension of cultural events in symbolism and in the direct experience of the materials, similarly to what occurs with patriotic representations of flags. Black and Red Henequen pertains to a series of environmental pieces that the artist created beginning in the 1970s. This tapestry/relief relies on textural surfaces that would develop into the concepts of environments and happenings. In the words of the critic Arnau Puig, The mural becomes a penetrable, a fibrous environment that can be penetrated by both the artist and the spectator. The notions of penetrable, environment and happening are closely linked and are nothing more than reality itself. Unlike social realism, the abstract language created by the Catalan artist alludes to politics based on the direct experience of materials and symbols, rather than representing a historical vision based on figures and characters.


Gabriel Orozco (Jalapa, 1962) Mural Sol, 2000 Sign painting Variable dimensions This large-format piece was first shown in Orozcos self-titled retrospective at the Museo Tamayo in the year 2000. In the context of the Museo Tamayos history, it seems relevant that Mural Sol was made on same the wall that had formerly displayed a mural tapestry by Josep Grau-Garrigas entitled Henequn rojo y negro (Red and Black Henequen)a work in the Tamayos permanent collection that is exhibited here anew after approximately twenty years in storage. Though Mural Sol is not part of the Tamayos permanent collection, its allusion to Muralism from the perspective of the appropriation of images and commercial signage (a common device in contemporary art practice) allows us to rethink the materials and techniques of modernity and its accompanying nationalist rhetoric. The two murals on display herewhich are the first pieces one sees upon entering the exhibitionform an interesting contraposition in the shows narrative: the modernist one uses tapestry and abstraction to express political content; and the others contemporary conception deploys possible critical readings about the realism of the Mexican School of Painting.

If, outside the museum, we encounter something which makes us think of the forms, positions and approaches already represented inside the museum, we are not ready to see this something as real or alive, but rather as a dead copy of the dead past. So if an artist says (as the majority of artists say) that he or she wants to break out of the museum, to go into life itself, to be real, to make a truly living art, this means only that the artist wants to be collected. This is because the only possibility of being collected is by transcending the museum and entering life in the sense of making something different from that which has already been collected. Boris Groys



Credits Curatorial assistant Carlos Lara Museography Rodolfo Garca Design Ldice Jimnez Uribe

We would like to thank the support of Museo de Arte Prehispnico Rufino Tamayo, in Oaxaca, to make possible this exhibition. There are Other Routes than Ours Tamayos Collections after Modernity May 8 - August 18, 2013 See the activity program at: Facebook: museotamayo Twitter: @museotamayo Instagram: eneltamayo Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporneo Paseo de la Reforma 51, Bosque de Chapultepec Del. Miguel Hidalgo C.P. 11580. Mxico, D.F. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm Price: $19 / General public Entrance is free to students, teachers, and senior citizens with valid identification Sunday: free to public

Eduardo Abaroa Francis Als Carlos Amorales Bill Brandt Victor Brauner Jimmy Ernst Marx Ernst Gnther Gerzso Mathias Goeritz Josep Grau-Garriga Juan Guzmn Teresa Margolles Carlos Mrida Joan Mir Jonathan Monk Louise Nevelson Isamu Noguchi Gabriel Orozco Vicente Rojo Wojciech Sadley Rufino Tamayo Wolfgang Tillmans Francisco Toledo Joaqun Torres Garca

Installation Jorge Alvarado Arellano Edgar Cabral Ortiz Juan Martn Chvez Vlez Jos Leonardo Lpez Cruz Daniel Reyes Ramrez Andrs Rivera Jorge Snchez Audiovisual Department Jacobo Horowich Registrar Mnica Ruiz Education Mnica Amieva

Curator: Willy Kautz In collaboration with: Eduardo Abaroa and Daniel Garza Usabiaga

Editorial Coordination Arely Ramrez Moyao Communications Sofa Provencio Beatriz Corts Acknowledgments: Alicia Pesqueira, Sofa Tboas, Abraham Cruzvillegas; Taiyana Pimentel and Mnica Montes of Sala de Arte Pblico Siqueiros, and Galera kurimanzutto.

Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes Rafael Tovar y de Teresa Presidente Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes Mara Cristina Garca Cepeda Directora general Xavier Guzmn Urbiola Subdirector general de Patrimonio Artstico Inmueble Mnica Lpez Velarde Coordinadora Nacional de Artes Plsticas Carmen Cuenca Carrara Directora del Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporneo Plcido Prez Cu Director de Difusin y Relaciones Pblicas