DIEGO AND FRIDA


The paintings and murals of Diego Rivera are not simply impressive in themselves, as evoking dramatic places and events; but they bring about a range of hitherto incongruous historical resources which, in this aggregation, impressively foreshadows new avenues of momentum.
As pictured above, many of his works emit glorious art deco energies, in engaging tropical exotica.
Diego was brilliantly fluent with the geometry of deco design. In the picture above, I love the startling symmetry of the woman’s toes as chording with the chromatic nuances of the hyper-patterned calla lillies.
Here the floral motif has been augmented by pronounced heft and resolve in the vignette.


This mural/fresco has carried the agrarian and indigenous intensities, seen in the works above, into an urban factory saga.

Diego Rivera is perhaps most remembered for his vast output of extravagant paeans to the mystique of manual labor. Thus he has been able to encompass in his career both serene and sizzling deco sheen and communist muscularity. Though inspired, during a trip to the Soviet Union, by the Constructivist and Social Realist propaganda works there, Rivera’s take on the processes of work maintains a far more lyrical dimension than would be acceptable to dour, sentimental socialists. Hence his choppy ride with the Party, which included outright, but temporary, expulsion.


In its heroic scope, this amazing marshalling of those disparate resources (titled, “Man at the Crossroads,” a commission from the Rockefeller Centre, which Nelson Rockefeller rejected and destroyed due to the inclusion of Lenin amidst its throngs) communicates the heartfelt excitement of an art that embraces dynamical territories until then never allowed to interact.


Here the natural vectors accentuate the resolute thrust of manual labour. This work was produced with regard to the auto industry in Detroit.

In this work, supernal exotica and earthy resolve have been brought into a rich synthesis.
Next week, we’ll continue this survey, bringing into the already wild and wonderful mix the Surrealist initiatives of the paintings of Diego’s wife and professional partner, Frida Kahlo.

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