Museum Home Past Exhibitions Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Optical Parables

November 13, 2001–February 17, 2002 at the Getty Center

Muchachita! (Daughter of the Dancers) / Bravo
video Video: Alvarez Bravo's Vision
audio Audio: La buena fama durmiendo (The Good Reputation Sleeping)
audio Audio: Los agachados (The Crouched Ones)

Manuel Alvarez Bravo is generally recognized to be one of the masters of modern photography and the most significant artist in Mexico today.

Born in Mexico City in 1902, Alvarez Bravo spent his youth in the city where visible markers of Mexico's pre-Columbian past, its colonial vestiges, and its modernity all coexist.

His life and work have coincided with radical changes in the twentieth century, and he is the last of a generation of artists with direct ties to the avant-garde movements in Mexico during the 1920s and 1930s.

In these decades following the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), artists and intellectuals celebrated the avant-garde and their indigenous past, and attracted international artists like Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, who traveled to Mexico to take part in the flourishing artistic activity.

Working within this cultural renaissance, Alvarez Bravo discovered complex ways to frame the disparity between urban and rural realities into a poetic vision of Mexico's modern life, its cultural differences and social contradictions. Divergence and apparent discontinuity are therefore two hallmarks of Alvarez Bravo's photography.

This exhibition features many of the Getty Museum's holdings and highlights recent gifts and photographs on loan from Los Angeles collectors Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser.