Idols behind Altars – Revisited: Examining the Construction of the Mexican Artistic Identity through Visual Culture and Folk Art in the United States



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This thesis examines the post-revolutionary creation of Mexican visual identity in the U.S. Focusing on the role of Idols Behind Altars by Anita Brenner, and her use of photography and text that attempt to frame the visual idea of Mexico for audiences of the early 20th century. Brenner places a specific emphasis on folk art as a way of understanding the prevalence of Mexican culture and identity, which I examine in three major exhibitions of the early 20th century. Brenner is seen as an intellectual of this movement, especially as critical translator of Mexican cultural ideals. She served as anthropologist, journalist, art historian, art critic, and worked as an advocate for Mexican culture and arts – especially for its representation in the United States. In constructing an understanding of the author and the inception of the book gives way for interpreting how folk art is part of the Mexican identity.



Mexican art, Mexican, Anita Brenner, Idols Behind Altars, Mexican Folk Art