Saturday, November 05, 2011

Yes we have no Siqueiros

One of the main muralists of Mexican art is David Alfaro Siqueriros.   Along with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco he looms large as an artist that helped define the muralist heritage in Mexico.  So one of the things you need to see when in San Miguel is a mural he painted in San Miguel in the Bellas Artes.

Siqueriros did a lot of murals all over the country including a magnificent one in the Children's refuge in Guadalajara.  (SEE SECOND PICTURE) We visited that about fifteen years ago and the young art student who showed us it was so excited because the artist did it on his back with one hand.   The mural in the refuge is amazing both in its use of color and in its progression of themes.

Like Rivera, Siqueriros was a lefty politically.  Indeed he was implicated in the plot to kill Trotsky.  If you know enough about the intensity of debates on the left you can understand how someone on the left would try to assassinate the intellectual godfather of the Russian revolution.   But enough of that.

When you come to SMdA you need to see this mural.   So today we set out to see the it.  Your picture is better than ours.  It seems that the roof of Bellas Artes collapsed and the museum is closed. We got to tour the church next to Bellas Artes which dates to 1511(although not sure how that worked since Cortez came to Antiqua eight years later).   We hope Bellas Artes will reopen by the end of the month.  In Zacatecas there is this great art space called the convent of San Francisco which has some amazing art work as well as a huge collection of masks and its ceiling collapsed - and that adds to the ambience.

The third in the triumvirate of heroic art in Mexico is José Clemente Orozco.   In Guadalajara, the municipal palace houses a heroic painting of the father of the Mexican revolution, Miguel Hildago (the guy who I said in an earlier post should have listened to deAllende).   Orozco's mural is compelling.

None of this is marked by subtlety.  It is not unlike the WPA stuff that Ben Shawn.  For a period of about thirty years muralists thrived in a number of countries.  The Mexican muralists, at least from my limited perspective, seem to have had the most lasting effect.

We found other stuff to do today including finding a knitting shop for my wife and going to the Mega for some more provisions.   But we hope we can see the mural before we have to return to the states.

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