Gilberto Aceves-Navarro is one of few surviving members of one of the most vital movements in Mexican Art in the 20th Century: El Salón Independiente. The movement was a reaction to the need for social and political change that was set in motion in 1968. Its members formed the group known as La Ruptura or The Rupture which bequeathed the nation with a new definition of contemporary Mexican art. It is now considered the link between the Muralismo Movement of the early 1900’s and the current Contemporary Méxican Art tendencies.
Aceves-Navarro began his studies in 1950 at The National School for Painting, Sculpture, and Etching at "La Esmeralda" under the tutelage of Enrique Assad, Ignacio Aguirre y Carlos Orozco Romero. In 1952 he worked as an assistant to David Alfaro Siqueiros, an influential Mexican muralist, on the murals at the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the years of 1957-1961, Aceves-Navarro was a professor of art at The Instituto de Intercambio Cultural Mexicano Norteamericano in Los Angeles, California. In 1971, he began his career as a professor at one of the most important art schools in Mexico: La Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (Academia de San Carlos, UNAM). Much later, his independent courses opened up at his workshop in Mexico City in 1998 where they are still run today by alumni who teach Aveces-Navarro’s methods for painting, drawing, etching, and ceramics.
A highly lauded artist, Aceves-Navarro has been a member of the distinguished Academia de Artes (Academy of the Arts) since 2003. In 1989 he received honorable mention at the Biennial of Cannes Sur Mer in France - the same year he received the Premio de la Universidad Nacional (National University Award). He has also received such prestigious awards and recognition as El Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes (The National Award for Science and Art, 2003) and La Medalla de Bellas Artes (The Medal of Fine Arts, 2011), while his fifty-year retrospective occupied the entire Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Art) in Mexico City in 2009. Currently, his five-piece polyptych Canto Triste por Biafra, painted in 1969, is a focal of the exhibit: El Salón Independiente at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (El MUAC). The exhibit is a tribute to Aceves-Navarro and his contemporaries for the 50th anniversary of their critical movement.
His life's works have been exhibited in over 300 individual shows worldwide from Japan, Germany, and Colombia to New York, Washington DC, Mexico and beyond. Amongst some of the most important of these are:
1973 - Historia Zoologico at Museo de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
1978 - La decapitación de Juan Bautista in El Museo de Arte Moderno, México City.
1981 - Antología de Aceves Navarro en Promoción de las Artes Monterrey, México.
1989 - Cantos por Georgia. Outdoor mural dedicated to the 1989 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
1994 - An anthological exhibition (1973-1993) at the Casa-taller José Clemente Orozco in the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Jalisco.
1994 - Historias y sueños del Unicornio at the Museo De la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Antiguo Palacio del Arzobispado, Mexico City.
2000 - The inauguration of his gallery opened with the exhibit Don Felipe II y la Armada Invencible which was also exhibited at the San Antonio, Washington D.C. and Montreal consulates.
2001- A tribute including exhibitions at the Museo Universitario del Chopo, the Galería Metropolitana, UAM, and the Galería del Aeropuerto Internacional was Organized for his 70th birthday. That year he was awarded the Creador Emérito grant by the Fonca and is named Académico de Número of the Academia de las Artes.
2003 - Recipient of the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in the fine arts field. Simultaneously, the exhibit: Ahora que Estoy Viejo Te Mando Cartas Mamá at the Instituto de México en España, Madrid.
2005 - A 55 year retrospective of works painted from 1950 in 2005 at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca.
2006 - The series Mi Juárez de Todos los Días was inaugurated at the Castillo de Chapultepec in Mexico City. The same year, he also presented his sculpture La Fuente de la Vida, displayed in Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, and the exhibition Adán y Eva según Rembrandt at the Centro de las Artes, In Monterrey, Nuevo León, México.
2008 - Retrospectivo de Gilberto Aceves Navarro at the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) in which the entire museum was dedicated to his artwork - an honor given to only a handful of the top artists of Mexico.
2013 - Las Biciletas - Outdoor public sculpture exhibit in ten different sites around Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, USA.
2014 - Las Bicicletas - Outdoor public sculpture exhibit in five different sites in Washington DC, USA.
2018 - Arte Desde Pequeños - Outdoor art exhibit presented via thirteen electronic billboards around Mexico City that included a call for submissions by all children in Mexico City between the ages of 3-10 to submit paintings. All were later displayed on the billboards.
A few of his international exhibits have been:
The Museo del Rayo de Roldanillo, Colombia, during the celebration of its 13th anniversary, in 1994.
Gilberto Aceves Navarro at the Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo, in 1992.
De las 7000 Formas de Atrapar un Unicornio was displayed in the Norddeutsche Landesbank, In Hannover and Hamburg in 1996.
His outstanding mural work can be seen in various Places, such Canto triste por Biafra currently at the MUAC, Una canción para Atlanta, painted for the Olympic games held In Georgia in 1993; Agredida por los Zancudos painted for the Museo Rayo de Roldanillo in 1994; La Guerra y la paz, In Mexico City, 1996.