I’ve been studying Aztec art for decades. Many artists active in or familiar with the Chicano arts movement of America’s Southwestern states have appreciated the blunt figurative style and bold colors of the Aztecs. As African art influenced European artists to establish cubism, so too has Aztec art given inspiration to Mexican-American painters and print makers from the late 60’s to the present. Currently artists and art enthusiasts around the world are discovering the staggering if privative grandeur created by the indigenous of Mexico over 500 years ago. In 2002, the Royal Academy of Arts in Great Britain presented Aztecs, an exhibition of art and artifacts visited by over 465,000 people, making it one of the most popular exhibits in the Academy’s history.
Now the Guggenheim Museum in New York Ciy presents, The Aztec Empire, a major exhibition running until February 13th, 2005. With over 435 works in stone, ceramic and precious metals from private and public collections, the show is an essential look at the art and culture of the Aztecs. Guggenheim Museum director Thomas Krens felt it important “to visit past cultures in which modern art has its roots in order to examine the context from which today’s art has emerged.” Beautifully stated… and a remark not to be overlooked. Working artists everywhere should study and embrace the overwhelming aesthetic accomplishments of Mexico’s original inhabitants. The Guggenheim maintains a terrific website for The Aztec Empire exhibition.