Sunday, September 03, 2006

Man at the Crossroads (1934): Diego Rivera and Nelson Rockefeller


By 1930 muralist and communist Diego Rivera was achieving international recognition, for his murals, known for their passion and folkloric roots, in Mexican culture and communist principles. One of his new patrons was Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of Nelson Rockefeller. She convinced her husband Nelson, to allow him to paint a mural in the newly built Rockefeller Center, in New York City.

Rivera proposed a 63 foot mural "Man at the Crossroads. It was a portrayal of a worker in a crossroad with capitalism, socialism, science and industry. In view of Diego's friendship with the Rockefeller family, they wouldn't object to Vladimir Lenin's portrait be included. The anti-capitalist theme, provoked controversy. The building managers despised the mural, and had final say about the content. The artist was paid in full and banned from the site. As a compromise Rivera proposed adding Abraham Lincoln to the mural, and keeping Lenin's picture. Despite demonstrations by Rivera's supporters, and the possibility of transferring the mural to the Museum of Modern Art. The painting was destroyed by attendants carrying axes. With Rivera paid in full, he had no say to stop the desecration.

The painting was redone at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, with a picture added of Nelson Rockefeller in a nightclub.
RENEGADE EYE

25 comments:

roman said...

Ren,

Mr. Rivera really knew how to pack a lot of historical figures and symbolism into his renderings. He is one of the great masters.
Interesting piece.
You said, however, that he had "no say to stop the desecration". Desecration? You have imbued a religious connotation to this act of defilement. Apostasy to secularism?

Renegade Eye said...

At a Christian church in my neighborhood, they have a jazz service. Does that make jazz spiritual?

I occasionally visit the Unitarian Society for a service. The minister said art is spiritual, if it depicts reality, and doesn't glamourize it.

I found an incredible manifesto, written by Trotsky, Rivera and surrealist Andre Breton. It said the policy toward art should be anarchist. The state should not exist in arbitrating artistic matters. The document was actually against Stalinist "Proletarian art".

Roman: You caught me off guard. I hope I danced around that question satisfactorily.

E. Williams said...

Man at the Crossroads is by far one of my favourite paintings. The painting has Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, the working man, and a dethroned god. What else could a person want?

the flying monkeys said...

Ren said At a Christian church in my neighborhood, they have a jazz service. Does that make jazz spiritual?


Am thinking of John Coltraine...RIP

Back to the post: very excellent

Dave Marlow said...

That's an amazing piece of art. I'm going to look into some of his other work.

thepoetryman said...

"The form of government which is most suitable to the artist is no government at all."
---Oscar Wilde

Fontaine said...

The state should not exist in arbitrating artistic matters.

So am I reading an opposition to the National Endowment for the Arts?

Redwine said...

Rivera never hid his political leaning. Also, he was paid, and he knew well what could and would happen.

And, Fontaine, indeed: whatever that leaning is, the state should not interfere. As it so often did.

Ren, excellent post. And yes, I think jazz is very spiritual.

the flying monkeys said...

almost forgot, and on the painting, in my opinion, I think its so "tutu"

Will said...

Nice one Ren. Good details.

I posted something on the picture a while ago here

And had a liberal fuckwit to stamp on for my trouble (which was good).

Have you got more details on the manifesto you stumbled on? Title? Available online etc?...I suppose I should either no it or look for it myself but why do that when I can ask ;)

beatroot said...

Oh for the days when political art could inspire such controversy (better than a dead shark floating around in a tank of piss…or whatever.

Question: why the crossroads of communism, capitalism, science and industry? I don’t see why these are four different routes. Communists believed ( I use the past tense) that capitalism was actually inhibiting the progress of science and industry and productive forces in general.

So surely these are not four different roads to choose from. It was basically two roads – capitalism or communism.

Today it would be high growth capitalism or low, green ‘green’ growth capitalism.

troutsky said...

I can always count on this blog to stimulate lots of thought.State no state, state sponsored art? desecration or defilement? Crossroads or dialectic? Love Supreme and Rockeffeller Plaza."There is no alternative" I'll be back.

Renegade Eye said...

Will see: http://www.generation-online.org/c/fcsurrealism1.htm

I think you have quite a bit to offer to the discussions on this blog.

Fontaine: Fine art can't exist without an outside money source of some kind. I think you were alluding to the Hillary vs Rudy thing, during the New York senatorial race. Neither candidate was at the show.

beetroot: There is more choices than two. I learned a new word last night, transitional economy.

Trotsky's buddy surrealist Andre Breton, I'm sure would accomadate a flying monkey or two.

Redwine: A glass of red wine, before a museum visit.

Poetryman: I don't know how one human being, can put out so much creatively.

e.williams: Has a well written, interesting lefty blog.

Frederick said...

I just had an 8th grade English 'Shirley Jackson' flashback...How could they destroy that?!

Brandon said...

nice blog you have here :)

sonia said...

I recommend two films, 'Frida' and 'Cradle Will Rock', where that abominable destruction is well dramatized...

Rivera in USA in 1934, the Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 2000...
Who will be next ?

Montmarcey Brown said...

I was just about to recomend cradle will rock.

I cry every time I watch it.

troutsky said...

Here is another one for beatroot, participatory economy. If you cruise on over to ZNet it is well explained, Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel have written an interesting book on the system.

roman said...

Ren,

LOL. Not just any dance but the Lambada. Good comeback.

LeftyHenry said...

Oh I've heard about this. I saw a movie a while ago about him. Didn't he also host Trotsky during his exile?

Anonymous said...

滿.............................................

cheap Generic Propecia said...

hi……………………
You are a Great while writing in the blogs it is awesome I liked it too much good and informative thanks for the sharing.

ia667 said...

徵信 徵信社 徵信公司
徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司
徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司

ia667 said...

徵信 徵信社 徵信公司
徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司
徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司 徵信 徵信社 徵信公司

buygenerics from india said...

buy generics rrom india com