Collection 1880s–1940s


Indigenism and the

Nov 4, 2022–Sep 10, 2023


Martín Chambi. Self-Portrait, Cuzco Studio. 1928. Gelatin silver print, printed 1978, 9 3/16 × 7" (23.4 × 17.8 cm). Gift of Edward Ranney in memory of Julia and Víctor Chambi. © 2022 Martín Chambi Archive
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 516

In the early 20th century, many artists in Latin America believed that meaningful modern art required a rejection of imported foreign models. Instead, art had to respond to its specific time and place with a commitment to a just and inclusive society. As Peruvian writer and activist José Carlos Mariátegui argued, “An artistic revolution cannot be satisfied with formal conquests.” This was the impulse behind Indigenism, a multifaceted regional movement focused on the defense, rights, and recognition of Indigenous peoples.

In Mexico, following its revolution (1910–20), the members of the Union of Technical Workers, Painters, and Sculptors, which included the most significant artists of this period, devoted their work “to the indigenous races humiliated through centuries; to the soldiers converted into hangmen by their chiefs; to the workers and peasants who are oppressed by the rich.” Artists in Peru and Ecuador also sought social justice for native Andean populations.

Organized by Beverly Adams, Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art, with Damasia Lacroze and Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistants, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

30 works online


Installation images

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