Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. Published in hard copy 5-7 times a year. New shows: "events;" hard-copy rates & how to support the online edition: "works."

Mexican Modernism & Populism: "Paint the Revolution" at the Philadelphia Museum

December 29, 2016

Tags: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo

Diego Rivera, Dance in Tehuantepec, 1928. Oil on canvas, 6 feet 6-3/8 inches x 63-3/4 inches (199 x 162 cm). Private Collection. © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Folks, if you want a grand way to spend New Year’s, may I recommend you go to see “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This gargantuan exhibition of hundreds of easel paintings, watercolors, murals, photographs, and graphics grandly demonstrates how a radical, though not highly-industrialized, society in the first half of the 20th century managed to unite two movements often seen as antitheses—modernism and populism. The museum is open on New Year’s Day, and this show will end its run there on January 8 (you can still see it from February to April at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City).. (more…)


January 31, 2012

Tags: Emanuel Leutze, Asher B. Durand, Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera. Indian Warrior. 1931. Fresco on reinforced cement in a metal framework, 41 x 52 1/2" (104.14 x 133.35 cm). Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton Massachusetts. Purchased with the Winthrop Hillyer Fund Sc 1934:8-1. (c)2011 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York

American art history is such a cozy corner of the discipline. Few scholars paid much attention to it prior to the 1960s, which may help to explain why I knew next to nothing about it when I entered grad school in 1974. In grad school, I learned quite a lot about it, thanks to a couple of excellent courses taught by Barbara Novak, but I also learned that an awful lot of (more…)