Mathias Goeritz Modernist Art and Architecture in Cold War Mexico Jennifer Josten

Publication date:
16 Oct 2018
Yale University Press
352 pages: 254 x 203mm
84 color + 93 b-w illus.

The first major work in English on Mathias Goeritz (1915–1990), this book illuminates the artist’s pivotal role within the landscape of 20th-century modernism. Goeritz arrived in Mexico from Germany by way of Spain in 1949. His call to integrate abstract forms into civic and religious architecture, outlined in his “Emotional Architecture” manifesto, had a transformative impact on midcentury Mexican art and design. While best known for the experimental museum El Eco and his collaborations with Luis Barragán, including the brightly colored towers of Satellite City, Goeritz also shaped the Bauhaus-inspired curriculum at Guadalajara’s School of Architecture and the iconic Cultural Program of Mexico City’s 1968 Olympics. These initiatives, which pitted Goeritz against Mexico’s post-revolutionary realist artists, including Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, also carried Cold War implications. Exploring Goeritz’s dialogues with leading figures among the Parisian and New York avant-gardes, such as Yves Klein and Philip Johnson, Josten shows how his approach to modernism, deeply inflected by politics and place, formed part of a global enterprise.

Jennifer Josten is assistant professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh.

"Josten's excellent and well-written book fills an important gap in the study of post-war Mexican art."—Yve-Alain Bois, Institute for Advanced Study

“Mathias Goeritz is a vital contribution to the burgeoning scholarship on mid-century Mexican art and cultural politics. Jennifer Josten not only illuminates Goeritz’s contributions to Cold War Mexico, but just as significantly, reveals his importance within artistic circuits across the Americas and the Atlantic.”—Mary Coffey, Dartmouth College