Muralists and art in Mexico City

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Our trip to Mexico City was focused on the art of the famous Mexican muralists Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco, mostly from the 1920s Often called Social Realists, these muralists painted scenes in the 1920 from the socialist/communist perspective, with capitalists in high caricature. These are several high society ladies of New York. The murals grace the walls of government buildings in Mexico City and their social commentary is amazingly blunt and anti-American.
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They spend equal time on the Spanish conquest of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. We stumbled upon an exhibit of Mexican painter and muralist Pablo O'Higgins, who did some work with Diego Rivera. A strong face by Pablo O'Higgins.
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The agave symbolized rural life. Rural woman in front of an agave. His style changed from realist, like Rivera, in the 20s, to these bold, quickly painted pieces from the 1970s. Rivera painted these as wet frescoes on every available wall in the building.
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Rural and urban laborers opposing capitalists and warriors rendered as parade baloons full of hot air. Secretary of Education building, 3 levels, a huge courtyard, murals on all walls. (See more architecture photos in the other Mexico gallery.) I'm not sure the celebration here, a combination of may day and church?
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On the left, women work in a laundry. On the right are the fireworks displays we saw in Taxco. Scenes of rural life supposedly remind the bureaucrats who work in the building of the unseen rural folks they also serve. Peasant workers go down to work in a silver mine... and upon exit are searched for any silver they might try to steal.
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The revolution is possible by uniting the industrial laborers in the cities with the agrarian laborers in the country. Here a multi-ethnic communist army of workers has conquered a blonde intellectual and put a bejeweled woman to work. Dark-skinned Mexican militiamen conquer which businessmen.
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So after the peasants win the revolution, they have abundance... ...and we see the white capitalists with little to eat. A successful redistribution of the land's wealth, from the eyes of the socialist revolutionaries. Ater the revolution, the peasants will get an education...
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... and the capitalists will learn they cannot eat money. The peasant revolution is cleaning up not only the defeated capitalists by the corrupt church, noted in the bishop's mitre on the floor. It is possible to overdose on murals, but they are a fascinating snapshot of a time in Mexican history.
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Industrial technology helps the agricultural workers as the clergy are smited (smoted? smitten?) This is a famous and amazing Rivera mural and there is a key to it showing all the historical figures in it from Cortes on through to Rockefeller. Kings and generals and peasants.
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The day of the dead celebration meets high society displays of wealth. Pancho Vila and the peasant struggle. Frida Kahlo is here, as is a young Diego Rivera.
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We also stumbled upon an extensive show of the artist Covarrubias, who was a mapmaker, cartoonist and illustrator whose work was seen in many US magazines. The jaguar king is from Mayan history. Covarubbias travelled to the Pacific and wrote an illustrated book on Bali.
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He made many maps for a Californian publishing company. He drew cartoons during the 20s and 30s and was fascinated with black American culture. He did a series for Vanity Fair.
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A Rivera mural just tucked away in a corner. We have seen only a portion of the murals present in Mexico City's buildings!


Last updated: 2/27/05