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(b Mexico City, Jun 17, 1908; d Mexico City, Nov 24, 1990).

Mexican architect, writer, and theorist. He was a member of the Escuela Mexicana de Arquitectura, a group that from 1925 onwards sought to create an architecture that simultaneously expressed nationalism and modernity. Within this group, which was led by José Villagrán García, Yañez, with Juan O’Gorman and Juan Legorreta, represented the socialist tendency. In 1938, with Alberto T. Arai, Enrique Guerrero, Raúl Cacho, Carlos Leduc, and Ricardo Rivas, Yañez formed the Unión de Arquitectos Socialistas, which had a significant influence on Mexican architecture. Their approach was characterized by an emphasis on the utilitarian and social aspects of architecture, for example the reduction of spaces to a bare minimum, and by a rejection of “bourgeois” aesthetics. Nevertheless, Yañez’s own house (1935) and the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas Building (1938) have a certain rhythmic plasticity, albeit rationalist and sparse. Later, still in the context of developing a “nationalist functionalism,” Yañez became one of the foremost designers of hospitals in Mexico. He won the competition for the construction of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social’s first hospital and designed the most important hospital complex in Mexico, the Centro Médico Nacional (...


Alessia Frassani

Town in the northern Mixtec region of Oaxaca state, whose church and former Dominican monastery form one of the largest and best preserved examples of 16th-century missionary architecture in New Spain. Little is known of Yanhuitlan’s pre-Hispanic history, but after the conquest Mixtec authorities resisted evangelical missionizing, while establishing political ties with Spanish secular officials. An important source for the early colonial history of the town is a pictographic manuscript known as the Codex Yanhuitlan. The Dominican complex sits atop an ancient platform, a sacred and ancestral site for local Mixtec peoples. Its imposing architecture presents Gothic, Plateresque, Mudéjar, and Renaissance classical features derived from Spanish antecedents. The main altarpiece was executed by the Sevillian artist Andrés de la Concha in the late 1570s in a Mannerist manner. The site continued to be the focus of many artistic endeavors throughout the colonial period, as attested by thirteen surviving altarpieces (...


Carolyn Tate

Ancient Maya city in the modern state of Chiapas, Mexico, which flourished as an important lowland capital c. 300–810 CE. Yaxchilan occupies the hills and riverbank overlooking a great bend in the Usumacinta River. Its eighteen or nineteen rulers perpetuated a 400-year-long rivalry with Piedras Negras, about 48 km downstream, for control of the subsidiary centers and sacred caves of the region. Yaxchilan’s approximately 130 carved monuments include stelae, lintels, altar-pedestals, thrones, circular ballcourt markers, and five grand hieroglyphic stairways. Their texts and images present the broadest range of ritual activities seen at any Maya site. In addition to the variety of sculptural formats and subjects, some of the monuments of Yaxchilan are widely considered to be among the most skillfully designed and carved of Maya art works. And as at many Pre-Columbian centers, its designers created alignments to solar phenomena as they planned specific buildings.

The site became well known following the explorations of ...


Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala City, Sept 18, 1888; d Guatemala City, Apr 17, 1942).

Guatemalan sculptor. He was first trained by his father, Baldomero Yela Montenegro (1859–1909), who was a sculptor and marble-carver. While still very young he worked with the Venezuelan sculptor Santiago González, a former student of Auguste Rodin, then resident in Guatemala, and with the Italian Antonio Doninelli, who ran a bronze foundry workshop. He was also extremely friendly with the Guatemalan painters Carlos Mérida and Carlos Valenti (1884–1912), and with the Spanish Catalan painter and sculptor Jaime Sabartés (1881–1968), who later became Picasso’s secretary. His first important sculptures, both in Guatemala City, were monuments to J. F. Barrundia (1905–1906) in the General Cemetery and to Isabel La Católica (1915).

Around 1921 Yela Günther went to Mexico, where he came into contact with the anthropologist Manuel Gamio, who directed his attention towards Maya and Aztec art. He also had the encouragement of Diego Rivera, who wrote enthusiastically of his work in ...


Leyla Dunia

Venezuelan artistic partnership lasting from 1977 to 1986. Jennifer [Yeni] Hackshaw (b Caracas, 1948) and María Luisa [Nan] González (b Caracas, 1956)—along with artist Antonieta Sosa—were the first women who presented their bodies as the support of their artistic and aesthetic proposals in Venezuela, becoming the most important pioneers of the performative movement of the 1980s in the country. Their artistic work laid the foundations for a conceptual and performative language that incorporated a deep interest for the exploration of the body throughout yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi.

They first met at the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas in Caracas in the 1970s. In 1977 they moved to England and studied art at the Central School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art, both in London. Later, they moved to France and studied photography in Cannes, and in 1979 they returned to Caracas and studied film at the Experimental Cinema Workshop with Alfredo Anzola. They are best known for their performative pieces, but they have also worked in writing, drawing, photography, Polaroids, video, and multimedia installation as modes of expression. During the first years of their collaboration they produced emblematic pieces as ...


(b Santiago, 1931).

Chilean painter and ceramist. A self-taught painter, in the 1950s and 1960s he based his landscape motifs and colors on the Andes, using very simple forms suggestive of Pre-Columbian textiles in their flat, abstract designs and balanced chromatic effects. It was a question of subjecting archetypal shapes to a subtle and rational play of color. While remaining committed to a careful technique in both his oil paintings and pastels, Yrarrázaval fundamentally changed direction in 1973, when he began to represent isolated and suspended figures undergoing gradual deterioration: faceless and with their bodies swollen as if by internal pressure, they appear to have lost their identity, leaving behind only realistically painted shirts, collars, and ties. The suggestion is of a collective anonymity, an identity crisis embodied in purely external human gestures revealed through social rituals and through the status and prestige accorded to dress and fashion. Yrarrázaval continued in these works to emphasize the material quality of his paintings and the strong three-dimensional illusion of his forms, relying exclusively on the palette knife to reveal or conceal forms by a meticulous modeling of light and shade....


Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Dec 6, 1879; d Buenos Aires, Mar 4, 1950).

Argentine sculptor. He enrolled at the Escuela de la Sociedad Estímulo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, in 1898 and soon afterwards joined the studio of the sculptor Lucio Correa Morales (1852–1923). In 1899 he won a scholarship to study in Europe. In Paris he attended the studio of the sculptor Jules-Félix Coutan, at the same time studying drawing at the Académie Colarossi; he made studies of corpses in the morgue and acquired a great mastery of human anatomy. At the Salon in Paris in 1903 he exhibited The Sinners (see Prins 1941), a major group of six female figures, influenced by Rodin’s Burghers of Calais in its rhythmic arabesques, open treatment of line and soft modeling. In 1904 it was shown again at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO, where it was awarded a major prize, but he renounced both the prize and associated commission because of a controversy about his youth....


Constantino Reyes-Valerio

Term used to designate the architecture characteristic of the Yucatán peninsula in south-east Mexico, particularly the religious architecture of the 16th century. A number of factors militated against Spanish settlement in Yucatán in the early 16th century, notably the intense heat, difficulties in irrigating the area, the lack of precious metals, and the sparseness of the Indian population, which was mostly Maya. Consequently, the peninsula’s social and economic development was very different from that of the more densely populated central plateau, and this was reflected in its architecture, which was of a simpler and more austere character.

Despite the obstacles to settlement, Franciscan missionaries arrived in the Yucatán peninsula in the 1530s and 1540s and began to construct simple buildings to house the monks. In order to accommodate the large congregations of Indians, however, and to protect them from the sun, they built ramadas, or large shelters, in the monastery compounds. These were supported by tree trunks, with roofs made from branches, and they had no side walls, thereby allowing the free passage of air. Services were conducted from a small, open-fronted stone chapel or chancel, which was built facing the ...


Louise Noelle

(b Białystok, Jun 14, 1924; d Mexico City, Apr 10, 2003).

Mexican architect of Polish birth. He studied at the Escuela de Arquitectura at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, graduating in 1949. In his early years he produced a large number of outstanding residential buildings and offices in Mexico City, making rigorous use of the International Style and demonstrating an impeccable handling of contemporary design, techniques, and materials. Also notable from this period was the Centro Cívico Cinco de Mayo (1962), Puebla, on which he collaborated with Guillermo Rossel. In 1968 Zabludovsky began working in collaboration with Teodoro González de León, although the two architects continued to work on some projects individually and retained their separate stylistic identities. Their collaborative work was remarkable for its quality and maturity, establishing functional and formal solutions that were later widely imitated. Clear examples of their characteristic proposals for constructions of massive, linear volume are the Delegación Cuauhtémoc (1972–1973; with Jaime Ortiz Monasterio (...


Clara Bargellini

City in Mexico. Capital of the state of the same name in the central highlands of Mexico, it is c. 250 km northeast of Guadalajara and has a population of c. 150,000. The city was established in 1546 and became the most important silver-mining center of colonial Mexico. The uneven terrain (it is situated in a ravine) and its initial quick growth resulted in an irregular but picturesque plan. Conservation efforts have preserved the city’s colonial scale and many colonial buildings in the local reddish limestone. A late 18th-century chapel dedicated to the Virgin crowns the Cerro de la Bufa, the hill that dominates the city. The cathedral was constructed as the parish church of La Asunción (begun 1612; completed 1752), integrating parts of the chapels of the Miraculous Crucified Christ and of the Virgin to produce a spacious three-aisled church; the architect was probably Miguel Sánchez Pacheco and, at the end, ...


Monica E. Kupfer


(b Panama City, Feb 5, 1930).

Panamanian printmaker and painter, active in Spain. He studied under Juan Manuel Cedeño at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura in Panama City and from 1953 to 1959 at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 1961 he moved to Madrid, where he began his important work at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Zachrisson’s etchings, drypoints, lithographs, and woodcuts tell stories, mock tradition, and criticize society, encompassing subjects as varied as the circus and the myth of Icarus. In works such as the Death of Chimbombó (1963; New York, MOMA) he depicts life with humor and satire in a cruel and even tragic vision. His fantastic world is peopled by an entourage of monsters, witches, and grotesque figures drawn from Panamanian urban folklore, Spanish literature, classical mythology, and personal experiences. Zachrisson’s paintings, produced since the 1970s, tend to be less detailed than his etchings but are equally biting in their use of irony, sexual explicitness, and references to his Panamanian background. Formally, his paintings emphasize color and design over volume, with flat intense hues, hard edges, and nearly invisible brushstrokes, as in ...



George F. Andrews

Pre-Columbian site around 4 km from the modern town of Huehuetenango in Guatemala. It flourished as a Highland Maya ceremonial and administrative centre c. ad 600–1525. The ruins of Zaculeu are high in the mountains of western Guatemala, in a relatively flat valley with mountains rising on all sides. Archaeological evidence shows that the site was occupied continuously from the Early Classic period (c. ad 250–c. 600) until its conquest by the Spaniards under the leadership of Gonzalo de Alvarado in 1525. At that time, the site was the Mam Maya capital, although it was evidently subjected to many outside influences and perhaps even conquest by neighbouring tribes during its long history. Most of what is known about Zaculeu is based on the excavations and restorations carried out in 1946–9 under the auspices of the Guatemalan Instituto de Arqueología e Historia. During this time nearly all the main structures were excavated and partly restored, numerous burials uncovered, and collections of ceramics and other artefacts made. Most of these artefacts are in the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología in Guatemala City, and there is a small collection in the site museum....


Margarita González Arredondo

(b Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Jan 12, 1908; d Morelia, Jan 19, 2003).

Mexican painter, printmaker, and teacher. He studied in Mexico City at the Academia de San Carlos (1924–1929) and at the Escuela de Grabado y Talla Directa. In 1930 he founded the Escuela de Pintura y Escultura in Taxco. He was also a member of the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios and an early member in 1937 of the Taller de Gráfica Popular, taking part in their group exhibitions and publications until 1950. From 1951 he was director of the Escuela de Pintura y Escultura in Morelia, Michoacán. In addition to his career as a teacher he was active politically. He practiced primarily as a printmaker with a clear and precise draftsmanship; he published, for example, a portfolio of eight lithographs, Estampas de Yucatán (1945), after traveling through the area for several months. He was also involved with the muralist movement in Mexico, and in 1930...


Paulo J. V. Bruna

revised by Alana Hernandez

(b São Paulo, 1934).

Brazilian architect and teacher. He graduated in 1959 from the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the University of São Paulo, where he received a PhD in 1972. He belonged to the third generation of modern architects in Brazil, benefiting from the opportunities presented by rapid industrialization, the founding of Brasília, and the intensive urbanization of the cities. In 1964 he became Professor of Planning at the University of São Paulo. His preoccupation with social concerns was reflected in his approach to planning for housing, education, and health in the city’s suburbs. From this experience came a variety of architectural experiments with timber, steel, reinforced concrete, and techniques that combine industrial components with the abundant unskilled labor available in the large cities. In 1968 he won a competition for the construction of a maternity hospital at Vila Nova Cachoeirinha, on the outskirts of São Paulo, on which he worked for three years with a large interdisciplinary team and with the local population. He also designed a number of primary schools and banks, such as the Banco do Estado de São Paulo (...


W. Iain Mackay

(b ?1710–20; d ?1773).

Peruvian painter. He was one of the last artists of the Cuzco school, whose members followed and repeated the formulae developed by Diego Quispe Tito. Though not outstandingly original, he is notable for the quantity of his production and commissions: between 1748 and 1764 he painted at least 200 works. His level of output was probably due to his use of numerous apprentices, such as Cipriano Toledo y Gutiérrez (fl 1762–73), Ignacio Chacón (fl 1763–80), and Antonio Vilca (fl 1778–?1803). During the 18th century Zapata and the other members of the Cuzco school started producing works incorporating highly formal, idealized figures based on the engravings that had long been supplied to artists by the religious orders of Cuzco. The indigenous artists consequently lost all contact with the Spanish realist school, a process to which Zapata contributed. However, while using European prints as a guide, in many of his pictures there are various non-European features: elegant creoles, black slaves, and such events as the epidemic of ...



Nelly Gutiérrez Solana

Pre-Columbian ceremonial site in central Veracruz, Mexico. It flourished c. ad 500–c. 800 and is notable for the large ceramic figures found there and for one of the few known temples in Mesoamerica dedicated to the god of the underworld. Zapotal has been plundered and some of its sculptures taken abroad; two seated female figures (Brussels, Mus. Royaux A. & Hist.; St Louis, MO, A. Mus.) are probably from Zapotal. Excavations at the site have been carried out by the Universidad Veracruzana since 1971, and most of the artefacts unearthed are in the Universidad Veracruzana, Museo de Antropología, Jalapa.

The site consists of mounds orientated along a north–south axis, two of which measure 10 m and 15 m in height. An offering of numerous terracotta figures and vessels, which had been broken for ritual purposes, was discovered in an artificial platform known as Mound 2 (75×35×4 m). Over 100 burials have also been found. Some contained ‘smiling face’ clay figurines, a type found only in the Veracruz region, and an ossuary composed of a column of 82 skulls and bones was also unearthed. The skeletal remains from tombs bear evidence of human sacrifices....



John Paddock

Pre-Columbian people and stylistic tradition in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. These people’s name for themselves was Peni-Zaa (“real people”), but the term Zapotec (“people of the sweet fruit”) is an Aztec improvisation based on the rough phonetic similarity of zaa and Aztec tsa. There is no simple Zapotec art style, rather an orderly uninterrupted sequence of styles stretching from c. 500 bce to c. 800 ce. After 600 bce culture was centered around the hilltop city of Monte Alban. The Zapotec and Mixtec peoples are still the most numerous of the Indian peoples in Oaxaca: the Zapotecs dominate the eastern portion of the state, the Mixtecs the western. Linguistic research, however, suggests that Zapotec inhabitants of the region could date back to c. 4500 bce.

From 1931 the Mexican scholar Alfonso Caso began exploring Monte Alban and the Oaxaca Valley; his work remains a primary source for the study of Zapotec–Mixtec culture. The centuries of isolation essential to a rare case of homogeneous development like that of the Zapotec people of Monte Alban were favored by topography: range after range of mountains on every side made communication with the central valleys of Oaxaca, at whose confluence Monte Alban rises, laborious and slow. Settled agricultural villages appeared in the valleys, as elsewhere in Mesoamerica, by about ...


(b Chicontepec, Veracruz, Jan 1, 1947).

Mexican draughtsman, printmaker, painter, and illustrator. Zenil is known for his reworking of recognizable Pop Mexicanist imagery—or known icons of Mexicanismo (mexicanidad; Mexican identity and culture)—such as the Mexican flag, sacred heart, Virgin of Guadalupe, calaveras (skulls), and lotería (Mexican bingo) symbols among others—while collapsing boundaries of the sacred and the profane and challenging the heteronormative. Zenil has been dubbed a member of the stylistic movement neomexicanidad (Neo-Mexicanism), alongside such Mexican artists as Javier de la Garza (b 1954), Julio Galán, and Rocío Maldonado. Zenil has acknowledged Enrique Guzmán (1952–86) as the initiator of Neo-Mexicanism in his work Oh Santa Bandera (a Enrique Guzmán) (1996; Mexico City, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), which is a reworking Guzmán’s ¡Oh! Santa bandera! (1977) that reiterates Guzmán’s early ironic reinterpretation of Mexican iconography as cultural critique.

A pioneer of Mexican Post-modernism in using strategies of appropriation, fragmentation, parody, and text, Zenil rejected the dominant style of ...


Louise Noelle

(b Vienna, Aug 8, 1930; d Guadalajara, 2000).

Mexican architect of Austrian birth. He studied at the Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, graduating as an engineer in 1955 and as an architect in 1963. His abilities as an engineer are reflected in several bold and ingenious structures that derive partly from the precepts of Félix Candela. Notable examples are the acoustic shell (1958) in Agua Azul Park, the Libertad Market (1959) and the “Presidente Adolfo López Mateos” Sports Center (1962), all in Guadalajara. The market is especially noteworthy for its roof of hyperbolic paraboloids, which allow for wide areas without supports. He also built residential blocks, paying careful attention to details of interior functionality, the durability and maintenance of materials, and residents’ individuality. The housing complex “CTM-Atemajac” (1979), Guadalajara, is one of his main achievements in this area, comprising several buildings with brick facing, none more than five stories. Among his numerous other designs in Guadalajara, the most notable are the Banco Refaccionario de Jalisco (...


Xavier Moyssén

(b San José, Dec 27, 1912; d Aug 1998).

Mexican sculptor, printmaker, draughtsman and teacher of Costa Rican birth. He studied sculpture under his father, Manuel María Zúñiga, in San José, Costa Rica, and after his arrival in Mexico City in 1936 at the Escuela de Talla Directa under the direction of Guillermo Ruíz (1895–1964) and Oliverio Martínez. Martínez, together with the painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, helped motivate his monumental concept of form. Other lasting influences came from his encounter with Aztec sculpture and from the work of other sculptors, such as Auguste Rodin, Aristide Maillol and even Henry Moore, whose work, like his, was based primarily on the human body. Throughout his career Zúñiga was especially devoted to the female form, naked or clothed.

The monumental character of Zúñiga’s sculpture is evident not only in public commissioned works, such as the stone reliefs of the Allegory of the Earth and Communications (1953–4) at the Secretaría de Comunicaciones in Mexico City, but also in sculptures conceived for more private and intimate settings, for example ...