Title

Diego Rivera’s U.S. Experiment and Controversy

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

15-5-2019

End Date

15-5-2019

Abstract

The famous Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, was known for his outspoken communist political bias in the early twentieth century, but he had a rocky relationship with Mexico’s communist party and they mutually rejected one another. While he was not formally involved with the party, his political perspective was reflected in his art. His choice of medium, fresco murals, allowed Rivera to connect with the masses because they existed in public spaces, and his subject matter focused on the labor necessary for innovation and manufacturing. By 1926 his fame was reaching the U.S art world. Wealthy capitalists entities in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York were commissioning murals by him. In the background of Great Depression, Diego Rivera saw these pieces as a way to empower the masses, but also a message to his capitalist audience that beauty and innovation were built on the back of laborers. At the height of his U.S controversy he was forced to stop work at the Rockefeller Center for painting a portrait of Lenin. This review of Diego Rivera’s US Tour focuses on the murals he produced, the controversial U.S. media coverage of his politics and art, and his own response to the criticism.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Jason Knirck

Department/Program

History

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May 15th, 4:30 PM May 15th, 5:30 PM

Diego Rivera’s U.S. Experiment and Controversy

Ellensburg

The famous Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, was known for his outspoken communist political bias in the early twentieth century, but he had a rocky relationship with Mexico’s communist party and they mutually rejected one another. While he was not formally involved with the party, his political perspective was reflected in his art. His choice of medium, fresco murals, allowed Rivera to connect with the masses because they existed in public spaces, and his subject matter focused on the labor necessary for innovation and manufacturing. By 1926 his fame was reaching the U.S art world. Wealthy capitalists entities in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York were commissioning murals by him. In the background of Great Depression, Diego Rivera saw these pieces as a way to empower the masses, but also a message to his capitalist audience that beauty and innovation were built on the back of laborers. At the height of his U.S controversy he was forced to stop work at the Rockefeller Center for painting a portrait of Lenin. This review of Diego Rivera’s US Tour focuses on the murals he produced, the controversial U.S. media coverage of his politics and art, and his own response to the criticism.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2019/Oralpres/93