To look at any of the Mexican masters of art in museums and exhibitions abroad is not only very interesting but it also makes one very proud. The history of the Detroit Institute of Arts and Diego Rivera (as well as the fashion of wondering what Frida Kahlo was doing at that same time) is already part of the mythology of the history of art in Mexico, and possibly in the world. Although Detroit is currently not the best place to visit in the United States (the city is mired in an economic crisis that has left it half-desolate and with extremely high levels of violence and poverty), the DIA, as the museum is known, is still one of the best places to appreciate world-class painting and its collection is truly one of the most beautiful and interesting that I have seen. *
The fresco (mural) "Detroit Industry" was painted by Diego Rivera between 1932 and 1933; we Mexicans know it from our elementary school books (at least those of my school years) and its images are present in tens of illustrations about Mexican muralism. Its main theme is precisely the Detroit industry, which is none other than the automotive and related ones. Apparently it's Diego Rivera's the largest mural outside Mexico.
Just after one enters the museum the receptionists offer detailed information about the highlights of their permanent collection among which, of course, is "The Industry Of Detroit"; you receive a clear explanation of how to get to the room where the mural is, in the central hall of the museum, a privileged space due to its light and spaciousness.
After what little I've read of the research that Renato González Mello has done on the esoteric part of Diego Rivera in his works in Mexico City (especially the mural in the central building of the minister of education, "La SEP"), I could look at this fresco in Detroit with a new idea in my head; at some other moment I would have contemplated it only aesthetically as a perhaps direct and propagandistic remnant of social movements of the last century (like socialism, class conflict, etc.) and, though it certainly is very influenced by that, the addition of an esoteric interpretation extends the enjoyment and learning from what is observed. Then those images of curvy women, of plants and fruits, of earth, roots and seeds, and of course the positions of the characters and the colors used within the overall composition of the painting, acquire another dimension. Obviously I am not an expert and I will not delve deeper, but I can refer you to the latest research on the work of Diego Rivera by Dr. González Mello et al.I share here my photos of the mural. I hope you enjoy them.
* I've already published in the Blog some photographs of Vincent van Gogh's painting The Diggers.
About "Detroit's destruction" maybe this note by the BBC about Detropia, a documentary, helps to understand the current situation in the city: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19578766
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