NEW YORK – The Museum of Modern Art has brought together, for the first time in 80 years, five portable murals by Diego Rivera, which will be on view through May 14. I visited last weekend, part of the crowd admiring the pieces first shown at the MoMA in 1931.
To create a moveable mural that could be displayed indoors, Diego worked day and night with two assistants to develop large blocks of frescoed plaster, slaked lime and wood.
After the first pieces detailing the Mexican revolution proved popular, he painted several more that portrayed the different levels of New York society during the Depression—a topic still relevant in today’s Manhattan. His work is what the best street art strives to be: artistically bold, but also a statement of the artist’s observations.
As the weather gets cold, the Diego Rivera exhibition is a great way to see some one of the masters of street art, indoors.
My favorite piece, Frozen Assets, shows the layers of a gray New York. In it the skyline of the modern city tops a shelter with gray shrouded bodies sleeping. The figures represent the disposed workforce that helped build the skyline but were left jobless once the skyscrapers were constructed. The bottom third of the image portrays greedy bankers watching their bags of money pile up. No artist today could paint something better suited to our current economic climate.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE