A Fascinating and Varied Culture
Daily life in Mexico can be very festive and vibrant, visually and aurally stimulating, and these dynamic characteristics is exemplified in all facets of the Mexican arts, both past and present.
Numerous essayists, writers, and poets of international renown are Mexican. These illustrious Mexicans include Octavio Paz, becoming in 1990 the first Mexican recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature. Another Mexican writer whose fiction is widely read in the United States and Europe is Carlos Fuentes. Writing about contemporary Mexican social issues; his best known works deal with the decades that followed the Mexican Revolution: Aura (1962) and La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962).
Closely following European traditions during the colonial period and the 19th century Mexican arts, the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1917 was instrumental in creating a new sense of experimentation and nationalism in the arts. The 1930's were a seminal period in the cultural awakening of a Mexican identity, with the painter and muralist, Diego Rivera, best known for his 1933 mural, "Man at the Crossroads. This period also saw other Mexican artists, such as Frida Kahlo (Rivera's wife) and Rufino Tamayo emerge not only as inspiring and dynamic voices in their country but helped establish Mexico as destination for foreign artists seeking inspiration from Mexico's rich indigenous cultural influences. American photographer Edward Weston and his lover, Italian Tina Modetti, along with French artists such as Jean Charlot helped make Mexico City a center of the avant garde.
The popular music of Mexican, from ballads and mariachi to Tex-Mex and LA Barrio Blues, has contributed significantly to the influence on American popular music in the United States. Examples include "La Bamba," a traditional Mexican folk song (son jarocho) that became hit record in 1959 (charting at 22) as sung by American Ritchie Valens, and the work of the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in the 1960s and 70s.