The Dallas Museum of Art presents the first-ever museum retrospective for Octavio Medellín (1907-1999), an influential Mexican American artist and teacher whose work helped shape the Texas art scene for six decades. Medellín was a noted sculptor who mastered a wide range of media, engaging with modernist trends in both his native Mexico and the United States.
"Octavio Medellín: Spirit and Form" will include approximately 80 works, exploring the evolution of Medellín’s sculptural practice, his public art commissions, and his legacy as a beloved and respected teacher. During the more than 40 years he lived and worked in the Dallas area, Medellín influenced generations of students as an instructor at the school of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and as founder of the Creative Arts Center.
The exhibition will include 30 sculptures, dating from 1926 to 1995 and tracing Medellín’s evolving interests in material and form. His sculptures of locally sourced wood and stone explore notions of tension in both the political and the personal. The monumental Spirit of the Revolution, made in Texas limestone, responds directly to his experiences of post-revolutionary Mexico. The Hanged, perhaps his most iconic work, alludes to the violence he witnessed as a young boy during the Mexican Civil War, but also has undeniable resonance with scenes of the lynching of Black and Brown men in the United States. Over the course of his career, as his work became increasingly abstract, Medellín experimented with metal and glass, and expanded his artistic practice into other mediums, such as printmaking, pottery, mosaic, and stained glass.