Pages Navigation Menu

The premier museum of the renowned mexican muralist on internet



Doc solves mystery of Frida Kahlo’s infertilityDoc solves mystery of Frida Kahlo’s infertility

Posted by on Apr 22, 2012 in Frida Kahlo, News | 0 comments

Doc solves mystery of Frida Kahlo’s infertilityDoc solves mystery of Frida Kahlo’s infertility

When Dr. Fernando Antelo looks at “The Broken Column,” one of many self-portraits depicting artist Frida Kahlo’s chronic pain and health problems, he feels like he’s having a conversation with a colleague as well as a patient.

The piece, painted shortly after Kahlo underwent spinal surgery at around age 37, shows the artist, who had taken pre-med courses in high school, encased in a body brace. The flesh down the middle of her neck, chest and abdomen is missing, exposing a broken column where her spine should be. Nails pierce her face and body as tears stream down her cheeks.

“I see her as a patient wanting to tell me about her symptoms, and at the same time I see her advanced knowledge, her ability to tell me about it as another physician would,” Antelo says. “Seeing that painting made me want to ask more questions.”

A surgical pathologist at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Antelo decided to investigate why Kahlo, who died in 1954 at age 47, suffered numerous miscarriages and underwent at least three therapeutic abortions.

“I think it’s one of those things where we owe it to Frida,” says Antelo, noting that many of Kahlo’s paintings contain images related to reproduction and fertility, but only historians, not doctors, have delved into why the artist was unable to have a baby. Articles in the medical literature have focused on her chronic pain and orthopedic and neurological issues.

Antelo’s conclusion, which he presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association of Anatomists in San Diego, is that Kahlo suffered from a rare condition called Asherman’s syndrome. First described in 1894, Asherman’s syndrome occurs when the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, is damaged and scar tissue forms. In most cases today, it results from repeated dilatation and curettage (commonly known as D & C), a procedure used to clear out the uterine cavity after childbirth, miscarriage or abortion.

Today, doctors treat the condition by peering into the uterus with a special magnifying camera on the end of a tube and carefully removing the scar tissue. But even if Kahlo had been diagnosed, Antelo says, “with the technology that they had then, they really couldn’t treat it.”

Kahlo’s condition originated with a streetcar accident when she was a teenager, according to the surgical pathologist. A metal handrail penetrated her abdomen, severely damaging the skeletal framework and internal organs, including her uterus. Among other things, the accident dashed her dream of attending medical school.

“She kept attempting to have children with a uterus that wasn’t in any condition to do that,” he says, and the resulting therapeutic abortions and miscarriages likely exacerbated her Asherman’s syndrome.

While numerous historians have offered reasons for Kahlo’s infertility, none of them have connected it to the streetcar accident, Antelo writes in his abstract.

Some colleagues have suggested that Kahlo’s inability to carry a pregnancy to term stemmed from a problem with the fetus or maybe a blood disorder, he says.

 “There could be other contributing factors,” Antelo acknowledges, “but in my mind, this has got to be a key thing. We have major injury to the uterus.”

By Rita Rubin

The murals of Diego Rivera: A journey of color, class and conscience The murals of Diego Rivera: A journey of color, class and conscience

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in News | 0 comments

The murals of Diego Rivera: A journey of color, class and conscience The murals of Diego Rivera: A journey of color, class and conscience

NEW YORK — “Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art” on display at MoMA through May 14 is about colors and class and conflict. It’s a journey into history and imagination. Most of all: It ventures deeply into the conscience of one of the century’s most provocative artists.

The Rivera exhibit takes us places, inspires reflection. As such: It’s a travel experience of the highest order.

Rivera — painter, dreamer, Mexican; child of affluence; champion of Communism; “a revolutionary with a paintbox” — lived from 1886 to 1957. Yet the frescoes in the MoMA exhibit, created in 1931 and 1932, send messages that flare beyond the bounds of time. They reference the Age of the Aztecs, Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, New York of the 1930s and, by the extension of their social themes, the Occupy Wall Street movement of today.

As this exhibit makes clear, Rivera loved New York. He loved machines and construction. He loved the notion of New York as urban utopia, ultra-modern, ultra-technological, built by empowered American workers. Yet Rivera’s urban romanticism bumps hard against his humanitarian conscience.

In “Frozen Assets” — one of the most engaging frescoes of the exhibit — Rivera presents a glittering New York skyline juxtaposed against masses of unemployed workers in a wharf-side dormitory and an underground bank vault in which the elite store their riches. Skyline. Strata. The secret story.

Rivera wrote, soon afterward, about his desire to illuminate “the continuous struggle between the privileged and the dispossessed.” Eighty years later, Rivera’s preoccupation is at the very heart of current events in America.

Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art” references — and reunites, conceptually — eight “portable” murals the Mexican painter created for a major Rivera retrospective at MoMA in 1931. It was a big event in its day: 150 pieces in all — “oils, pastels, watercolors, black and whites,” as Rivera remembered it — featuring a living artist at the peak of his powers.

Rivera believed in murals, loved the public nature of fresco art, thought America the perfect place for such a form. But while paintings were easy to assemble for a retrospective show … it was impossible for New Yorkers in 1931 to see his best murals in person.

What to do?

In the end, Rivera and MoMA decided he would produce five portable, transportable frescoes — huge stone “snapshots” from his famous Mexican murals, focusing on themes of conflict and power. What’s more, he would create three new portable frescoes with New York themes.

The most familiar of these images, “Agrarian Leader Zapata” — Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, holding the bridle of a glorious white horse as he stands over the dead body of its privileged owner — opens the window to the exhibit. There’s no character in the entire exhibit more beautiful, more alive in the eyes, more glorious in form, than the white horse in this first fresco. The prize.

As curator Leah Dickerman points out right away, Rivera’s Mexican murals are about power relationships: Workers raise their fists against armed police; an Aztec slays a conquistador; indentured servants haul sugar cane under the control of hacienda owners. The white horse in this 8-foot-tall fresco is the only central image depicted in the Mexican murals that is not directly involved in the struggle for power. Beautiful in line and form as a piece of art, significant in that Rivera “awards” it to Zapata.

The Rivera exhibit is not at all large. But the layout of the frescoes inspires a number of journeys — into color and line; into history; into process; into the artist’s connection to the theme; into Rivera’s heart. The exhibit showcases five of the original eight murals from 1931, but even the “missing” murals are represented in the form of Rivera’s preliminary charcoal sketches or giant “cartoon” drafts. These, especially, ripple with the passion of the artist in the moment of creation.

In the gallery: The colors, so translucent; the lines, so graceful; the composition, often suggestive of the Renaissance; the stories, dominated by force — both palpable and inferred. A single fist, raised against an array of police clubs. Rows and rows of homeless bodies, without faces.

By Brad Buchholz

Short Film Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Mural Painting Made by Diego Rivera

Posted by on Dec 8, 2011 in News | 0 comments

Short Film Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Mural Painting Made by Diego Rivera

MEXICO CITY.- To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the mural painting created by Mexican artist diego rivera, the short film 200 Segundos. Una Vision de la Historia de Mexico (200 Seconds: a vision of Mexican history) was projected at the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA). Through diverse scenes of the painting, the short film synthesizes the development of Mexico from the Prehispanic age to 20th century.

The film produced by Martin Garcia-Urtiaga was premiered at MNA with the presence of Consuelo Saizar, president of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta), who mentioned that the decision of supporting this work was based in the fact that it fulfills the objectives of the cultural project of the organism she presides.

“This audiovisual work accounts for the talent and creativity of several artists, allowing the private sector to participate; besides, it uses video, a technological format, to divulgate culture, serving the society by showing one of the great works of the 20th century”.

Parting from different shots of the diego rivera mural, the brief documentary – 3 minutes and 20 seconds long- is a visual tour that synthesizes the history of our country, from the development of Prehispanic culture, the conquest, the Colonial age, the Independence, the Reform, the Mexican Revolution up to the different episodes of 20th century history.

Teresa Vicencio, head of the National Institute of Fine Arts (Inba) commented that projects like this guard the artistic legacy, giving it meaning and divulgation. “We watch in the documentary the ordeal of our people, as well as the one lived by diego rivera and all the Mexican artists that have given us identity, voice and perspective”.

Epopeya del pueblo mexicano was painted between 1929 and 1935 at the staircase of the central yard at Palacio Nacional, in Mexico City Historical Center, over a 276 square-meters surface.

The work is integrated by 3 sections: “Prehispanic World”, painted on the northern section, with scenes inspired by Mesoamerican cultures; at the center, “From the Conquest to 1930”, which represents passages from the conquest, Colonial times, Independence and Modern Mexico, up to Mexican Revolution, and the southern section, named “Mexico today and tomorrow”, where 20th century conflicts as well as social exploitation.

The production of this short film is part of the Bicentennial of the Independence and the Centennial of the Revolution commemorations, and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), Fundacion Manuel Arango and Consejo Nacional Adopte una Obra de Arte participated.

The short film is to be distributed by Educal libraries and will be uploaded to

Diego Rivera Retakes it’s place at MOMA

Posted by on Nov 10, 2011 in Collections, History, Murals, News | 0 comments

Diego Rivera Retakes it’s place at MOMA

By Rafael Mathus



 After 80 years, Diego Rivera returned yesterday to claim a star on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and revive a message that despite the passage of time, it seems more valid than ever.

Yesterday, we inaugurated the exhibition Diego Rivera murals for the Museum of Modern Art, that brings back five of the eight murals painted Mexican mobile for his first retrospective at MoMA in 1931, and in which captured images of the history of Mexico and harsh criticism of the economic and social situation left by the Great Depression, today, with nuances, is repeated in America.

In addition to the murals, the exhibition includes three sketches, prototype portable mural done in 1930 and smaller drawings, watercolors and prints by Rivera. The exhibition will open to the public next Sunday.

“I can think of no better metaphor for what happens with moves like” Occupy Wall Street ‘that have been replicated in the world and U.S. social stratification that appears in one of Rivera’s works, “said the director of MoMA , Glenn Lowry.

Journalists, collectors, entrepreneurs like Ignacio Deschamps, president of the main sponsor of the sample, BBVA Bancomer, Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, and Consul in New York, Carlos Sada, gathered yesterday morning at the opening for the press, which hosts made Lowry and curator Leah Dickerman, the mastermind behind the sample.

In the afternoon, we performed the official opening, which was attended by the First Lady, Margarita Zavala.

It was Sarukhan who stressed the synergy between Mexico and the MoMA, remembering that there have already been three exhibitions of three artists associated with the country over the past two years: Gabriel Orozco, Francis Alos, and now Rivera.

“I think it speaks much of what we can do to use culture as a bridge between both countries,” Sarukhan praised, true believer in the crucial role that culture plays in Mexico’s global positioning.

Speaking about the work of Mexican and parallelism of the message he left 80 years ago today, Deschamps said: “Diego Rivera was a man committed to his time with social problems. He lived in a global economic crisis in those years we are living now, and I think it is a necessary reflection is very important that the development and fairness. “

Two special guests at the pre-opening yesterday were Mark and Vicky Micha, collectors, who served two murals-The Rise and Power, for the exhibition of Rivera.

“They’ve been at home, and now came to the museum and borrowed generously, and lending generously. I am more than happy to see you here, proud, happy, more than anything, Diego, because what he has done is repeated 80 years later, “said Micha renovation.

They are interested in Latin America

NEW YORK .- This exhibition of Diego Rivera, the MoMA in New York close ties with Mexico and Latin American art, which is in its permanent collection, rich in pieces by artists from the region.

“There is a real interest in Latin American art is broad, and that is not new,” said Leah Dickerman, curator in charge of the sample.

He recalled that the museum has many curators who choose artists that seem interesting for various reasons which have nothing to do with the origin.

“We are a museum stronger when we have different things at the same time.”

The parts of the sample

Of the eight murals he did for the MoMA exhibit:

· “Peasant leader Zapata” (1931)

· “Indian Warrior” (1931)

· “The Rising” (1931)

· “Frozen funds” (1932)

· “Electric power” (1932)

Two are too fragile for shipment

· “Sugar Cane” (1931)

· “Liberation pawn” (1931)

One is missing

· “Pneumatic drill” (1932)

Por Rafael Mathus

Luego de 80 años, Diego Rivera volvió ayer a reclamar un lugar estelar en las paredes del Museo de Arte Moderno (MoMA) de Nueva York y a revivir un mensaje, que pese al paso del tiempo, parece hoy más vigente que nunca.
Ayer se inauguró la exposición Diego Rivera: Murales para el Museo de Arte Moderno, que vuelve a reunir cinco de los ocho murales móviles que el mexicano pintó para su primera muestra retrospectiva en el MoMA, en 1931, y en los que plasmó imágenes de la historia de México y críticas a la dura situación económica y social que dejó la Gran Depresión, que hoy, con matices, vuelve a repetirse en Estados Unidos.
Además de los murales, la exhibición incluye tres bocetos, un prototipo de mural portátil hecho en 1930 y dibujos más pequeños, acuarela y grabados de Rivera. La muestra abrirá al público el próximo domingo.
“No puedo pensar en ninguna mejor metáfora de lo que sucede con movimientos como ‘Occupy Wall Street’ que se han replicado en el mundo y Estados Unidos que la estratificación social que aparece en una de las obras de Rivera”, señaló el director del MoMA, Glenn Lowry.
Periodistas, coleccionistas, empresarios como Ignacio Deschamps, presidente del principal patrocinador de la muestra, BBVA Bancomer; el Embajador de México en Estados Unidos, Arturo Sarukhan; el artista mexicano Gabriel Orozco, y el Cónsul en Nueva York, Carlos Sada, se congregaron ayer por la mañana en la inauguración para la prensa, en la cual hicieron de anfitriones Lowry y la curadora Leah Dickerman, el cerebro detrás de la muestra.
Por la tarde, se realizó la inauguración oficial, que contó con la presencia de la Primera Dama, Margarita Zavala.
Fue Sarukhan quien destacó la sinergia entre México y el MoMA, al recordar que ya han habido tres exhibiciones de tres artistas vinculados al País en los últimos dos años: Gabriel Orozco, Francis AlØs, y, ahora, Rivera.
“Creo que habla mucho de lo que podemos hacer al utilizar la cultura como un puente entre ambos países”, ponderó Sarukhan, fiel creyente del papel crucial que juega la cultura en el posicionamiento global de México.
Al hablar sobre la obra del mexicano y el paralelismo del mensaje que dejó hace 80 años con la actualidad, Deschamps afirmó: “Diego Rivera fue un hombre comprometido con su tiempo, con los problemas sociales. Vivió en una crisis económica global en esos años como estamos viviendo ahora, y creo que es una reflexión necesaria de que es muy importante el desarrollo y la equidad”.
Dos invitados especiales a la pre-apertura de ayer fueron Marcos y Vicky Micha, coleccionistas, que prestaron dos murales -El Levantamiento y Energía Eléctrica- para la exhibición de Rivera.
“Han estado en la casa, y ahora vinieron los del museo y generosamente los pidieron prestados, y generosamente los prestamos. Estoy más que contento de verlos acá, orgulloso, feliz, más que nada, por Diego, porque lo que él ha hecho se ha repetido 80 años después”, afirmó Micha a REFORMA.
Les interesa Latinoamérica
NUEVA YORK.- Con esta exhibición de Diego Rivera, el MoMA de Nueva York estrecha sus lazos con México y con el arte de América Latina, algo que se ve en su colección permanente, rica en piezas de artistas de la región.
“Hay un interés real en el arte de América Latina que es amplio, y que no es nuevo”, indicó Leah Dickerman, curadora a cargo de la muestra.
Recordó que el museo tiene muchos curadores que eligen artistas que les parecen interesantes por distintas razones, las cuales no tienen que ver con el origen.
“Somos un museo más fuerte cuando tenemos distintas cosas al mismo tiempo”.
Las piezas de la muestra
De los ocho murales que hizo para el MoMA se exhiben:
·”Zapata líder campesino” (1931)
·”Guerrero indio” (1931)
·”El levantamiento” (1931)
·”Fondos congelados” (1932)
·”La energía eléctrica” (1932)
Dos están muy frágiles para su traslado
·”Caña de azúcar” (1931)
·”Liberación del peón” (1931)
Uno está desaparecido
·”Taladro neumático” (1932)

Frida Kahlo’s father wasn’t Jewish after all

Posted by on Apr 11, 2011 in Frida Kahlo, History, News | 0 comments

Frida Kahlo’s father wasn’t Jewish after all

Meir Ronnen
04/20/2006 10:39 

Frida Kahlo herself was probably the source of the claims to her Jewish connection. But why?

Fridas Vater: Der Fotograf Guillermo Kahlo by Gaby Franger and Rainer Huhle Schirmer/Mosel 248pp, EU49.80 Edvard Munch: Die Selbstbildnisse by Iris Muller-Westermann Schirmer/Mosel 205pp, EU39.80 Richard Avedon: Woman in the Mirror by Anne Hollander Schirmer Mosel/ The Richard Avedon Foundation $65 For decades now, ever since an international revival of interest in the paintings and life of Mexico’s Frida Kahlo, art historians and critics, including this writer, have been writing that Frida’s photographer father was Jewish, possibly of Hungarian origin. A new book devoted to Guillermo Kahlo and his photography reveals that he had no Jewish genes and stemmed from a long line of German Protestants. Frida herself was probably the source of the claims to her Jewish connection. But why? My guess is that German connections during the Nazi era were an embarrassment to her. Communists in particular were strongly anti-Nazi and Diego Rivera, Frida’s great love and sometime husband, was an active communist. So of course was the nominally Jewish founder of the Red Army, Leon Trotsky, who was Frida’s lover in Mexico City before he was murdered with an ice pick, at Stalin’s orders. In 1949 Frida actually wrote to her father inquiring about his origins. The letter survives. Carl Wilhelm Kahlo was born in 1871 in Pforzheim, to Lutheran parents whose antecedents, craftsmen, soldiers, gingerbread bakers and sluice keepers, have been traced back by Gaby Franger and Rainer Huhle to the 16th century. Carl Wilhelm fell out with his family and at age 19 emigrated to Mexico, changed his name to Guillermo and began work as an accountant before discovering photography. Not all his negatives have been recovered, but he left behind a frank and unpretty record of life in Mexico at the turn of the century that is astonishingly modern in approach. Guillermo ran a professional studio and married a woman of mixed Spanish-Indian origin, who gave her daughters an ethnic link to both the rich and poor of Mexico. Frida and her taciturn, enigmatic father were famously concerned with themselves. Frida’s favorite subject was herself (she made a trademark of her eyebrows). Guillermo’s most riveting images are his self-portraits. Both father and daughter produced self-images that are silent witnesses to the tragedies of life. EDVARD MUNCH (1863-1944), the great Norwegian-born painter, painted many self-portraits, but they are not all delineations of his actually handsome physiognomy. Most are descriptions of mood and atmosphere and his presence is firmly felt even in symbolic narrative works in which his real face does not actually appear. This collection is interesting because it reveals a wide range of painterly approaches. One early canvas is 90 percent Van Gogh. Some narratives are obvious, like The Dance of Life. But what to make of the cover image, Artist and Model, 1919, in which the girl (dressed) occupies the foreground, while the painter stands well behind her? The composition is powerful, the handling lively. But it is all enigmatic, with just a hint of the eroticism that powers so many of Munch’s canvases. The lively gestural technique is just one of the facets that led the Nazis to attempt to destroy his work in German collections. These were transferred to a neutral Swedish collector at the 11th hour. Author Iris Muller-Westermann is a curator of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. AMERICAN-JEWISH fashion photographer and portraitist Richard Avedon (1923-2004) was perhaps the greatest of his country’s studio photographers. After serving in the wartime merchant marine, Avedon became the staff photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and died in Texas while on assignment for The New Yorker, for whom he was staff portraitist for for over a decade. His in-your-face portraits were technically brilliant and humanly stunning. Woman in the Mirror, a large-format half-century of portraits, was first published in English last year by the newly established Richard Avedon Foundation. The portraits of women, which range from a Wyoming waitress to the stunning Gloria Vanderbilt, include studies of Isak Dinesen, Elton John in drag, Rose Kennedy, Maria Callas, Katharine Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Louise Nevelson, as well as a naked Kate Moss and sundry other famous models and society ladies. Avedon dealt with versions of reality, all of them somehow dramatized, even when taken out-of-doors.

Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917 at the Meadows Museum

Posted by on Nov 19, 2010 in Collections, History, News, Site, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917 at the Meadows Museum

by James Michael Starr

That knife-in-the-back-of-the-neck might have been just the wake-up call Diego Rivera needed. Paris “she-devil” Marevna Vorobieva-Stebelska had the shiv up her sleeve, awaiting their final embrace before Diego’s return to common-law wife Angelina Beloff. Then it was “do svidanya, you cad.” As he dropped to the floor, she used it to cut her own throat, surrealist style.

Rivera said he literally heard bells. But that was probably just nerve damage, and if indeed there was a real epiphany, it didn’t precipitate his abandonment of reclining female figures but rather the end of a five-year fling with Cubism, one chronicled in Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917, at the Meadows Museum through September 20.

Add that to his characterization in the film Frida and one might conclude Rivera (1886-1957) changed art movements like he changed wives. By 1921 he’d already moved on to the Social Realism we know him for, he was back home in Mexico painting common-law No. 2, Lupe Marín, into the thousand-square-foot mural Creation, and a teen-aged Kahlo was teasing him from behind a pillar.

But in this exhibition, totaling 31 works (23 chronologically arranged paintings with eight works on paper), the artist can be seen in a sincere search to find himself on his own canvas.

The first three paintings in the catalog, Girl with Artichokes, Girl with Fans and The Sculptor (Portrait of Oscar Miestchaninoff), all from 1913, record this search in progress. They pick up with Rivera’s first attempts at Cubist treatments after floundering for several years in what Mexican scholar and exhibition curator Sylvia Navarrete, calls “a rather insipid strain of naturalism.” Being transitional works, though, these don’t so much portray their subjects from Cubism’s different viewpoints as just shake them and then record the blurred image.

By the time Alexandre Zinoviev sat for Portrait of a Painter (1913), Rivera could at least bring himself to radically fragment his subject. However, the Russian artist (and spy for the czar) appears so mechanically split and splayed as to resemble a Joel Peter Witkin cadaver, or a trick with mirrors.

Not until Woman at the Well (1913) does Rivera appear to get it, although even that painting still echoes past reverberations. Finally comes 1914 and the kaleidoscopic Two Women (Portrait of Angelina Beloff and Alma Dolores Bastién), and it’s a horse race from there on out as he abandons fear of commitment and subscribes so fully to the Cubist canon he’ll soon pick fights with Picasso.

It may also be of interest to note that that last work from 1913 lay hidden for more than 60 years, covered by pigment on the other side of a canvas Rivera later used to paint Zapatista Landscape (1915), “the result of economizing during a period of hard times,” and only discovered by restoration efforts in 1977. The Meadows makes no big fuss about the curiosity, but displays the conjoined works in a freestanding, double-faced case atop a plinth. More than one viewer commented on examining both paintings without realizing they were two sides of the same canvas.

After his close shave with Vorobieva-Stebelska, another couple years would pass before Rivera actually abandoned cubism, departing Paris for Italy and that Picasso/Braque contrivance for socialist murals. But you can already see it coming in the catalog’s last three numbers, a distinct before-and-after as he shifts gears to accelerate his movement away from a movement.

It begins at number 29, Woman Seated in an Armchair (1917), which portrays the dangerous Marievna with pulchritude even Cubism can’t flatten, but also with Rivera’s signature and not-so-sexy Popeye wink, one eye a dot and the other a dash.

Then on her heels come 30 and 31, Seated Woman and Portrait of Madame Marguerite Lhote. And while both date from that same year, there now appear, amid all the prismatic planes, recognizably drawn facial features, delicate, Neoclassical strokes that mark his cooling towards passionless geometry.

So, in the end, Rivera snuck out on Cubism as coyly as he’d flirted with it at the start.

He describes his disenchantment in the autobiography My Art, My Life: “When it dawned on me that all this innovation had little to do with real life, I would surrender all the glory and acclaim cubism had brought me for a way in art truer to my inmost feelings.”


The Meadows exhibition is a thoughtful survey in general. Given the little recognition he actually received at the time, plus the fact that Rivera’s name is rarely connected with better known Cubists, it appears “all the glory and acclaim” he referred to must remain the legend in his own mind. And notes in the catalog and wall texts don’t claim otherwise.

Acknowledging what might be a mostly purist or academic appeal in the gathered works, Navarrete concedes, “everything would seem to indicate that Rivera’s experience with Cubism was little more than an interlude, a detour.” Still, that scenic overlook was worth the stop, happening as it did on the way to his becoming, if possible, the larger-than-life figure he is among early twentieth-century artists.

More importantly, the brevity of Cubism relative to other significant movements, the important cultural figures who were his, shall we say, fellow travelers and Rivera’s own short-term but intense devotion to the form, all come together in this exhibition to offer a rare, comprehendible and concise study of one artist’s quest for significance.

Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917
Meadows Museum
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, Texas
June 21 – September 20, 2009

An experiment in cannibalism

Posted by on Oct 12, 2010 in History, News, Site | 0 comments

An experiment in cannibalism

From the book: “DIEGO RIVERA — MY ART, MY LIFE”

In 1904, wishing to extend my knowledge of human anatomy, a basic requisite for my painting, I took a course in that subject in the Medical School in Mexico City. At that time, I read of an experiment which greatly interested me.

Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera Whistling with Pencil Holder as He Studies His Sketches for Mural

A French fur dealer in a Paris suburb tried to improve the pelts of animals by the use of a peculiar diet. He fed his animals, which happened to be cats, the meat of cats. On that diet, the cats grew bigger, and their fur became firmer and glossier. Soon he was able to outsell his competitors, and he profited additionally from the fact that he was using the flesh of the animals he skinned.

His competitors, however, had their revenge. They took advantage of the circumstance that his premises were adjacent to a lunatic asylum. One night, several of them unlocked his cages and let loose his oversize cats, now numbering thousands. When the cats swarmed out, a panic ensued in the asylum. Not only the inmates but their keepers and doctors “saw cats” wherever they turned. The police had a hard time restoring order, and to prevent a recurrence of such an incident, an ordinance was passed outlawing “caticulture.”

At first the story of the enterprising furrier merely amused me, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I discussed the experiment with my fellow students in the anatomy class, and we decided to repeat it and see if we got the same results. We did — and this encouraged us to extend the experiment and see if it involved a general principle for other animals, specifically human beings, by ourselves living on a diet of human meat.

Those of us who undertook the experiment pooled our money to purchase cadavers from the city morgue, choosing the bodies of persons who had died of violence — who had been freshly killed and were not diseased or senile. We lived on this cannibal diet for two months, and everyone’s health improved.

During the time of our experiment, I discovered that I liked to eat the legs and breasts of women, for as in other animals, these parts are delicacies. I also savored young women’s breaded ribs. Best of all, however, I relished women’s brains in vinaigrette.

I have never returned to the eating of human flesh, not out of a squeamishness, but because of the hostility with which society looks upon the practice. Yet is this hostility entirely rational? We know it is not. Cannibalism does not necessarily involve murder. And human flesh is probably the most assimilable food available to man. Psychologically, its consumption might do much to liberate him from deep-rooted complexes — complexes which can explode with the first accidental spark.

I believe that when man evolves a civilization higher than the mechanized but still primitive one he has now, the eating of human flesh will be sanctioned. For then man will have thrown off all of his superstitions and irrational taboos.

Reconsidering Rivera

Posted by on Oct 4, 2010 in History, Murals, News | 0 comments

Reconsidering Rivera

By Robin Herbst

“And what sort of man was I?” asks Diego Rivera toward the end of his autobiography, in the last year of his life. Indeed, with a life as rich in controversy as Rivera’s, the ambiguous answers to that question continue to fascinate scholars of his work. But it is the question of what sort of artist Rivera was, and the meaning of his undeniably prodigious contribution to twentieth-century art, that lie behind a new, major retrospective of his work, “Diego Rivera: Art and Revolution,” opening at the Cleveland Museum of Art on February 14, 1999.

The flower carrier

The Fower Carrier

The show is the first major retrospective of Rivera’s work in this country in thirteen years. It contains 146 paintings, murals, prints, and drawings, and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalog that presents new scholarship and interpretations of Rivera’s work.

Rivera is generally acknowledged to be one of the most important artists of this century, and its most influential muralist. By the age of forty-five, he was among the most well-known and controversial artists in the world. He developed a painting style that synthesized the influences of European art, socialist ideals, and the cultural riches of pre-Columbian, indigenous Mexico. Today he is still revered as a Latin American folk hero.

But what sort of man was Diego Rivera? And what is the significance of his work? Political artist and visual satirist? Was his greatest contribution the populist mural, whose style he developed after he returned from Europe to Mexico in 1921 to participate in the “Mexican Renaissance?” He was a man of obvious contradictions, and occasionally revolting appetites. He was a devoted Marxist who nevertheless reviled Stalin and painted portraits of his own Hollywood friends. He was a lover of women, fond of marriage, who couldn’t remain faithful to any of his four wives, and whose unabashed experiment with cannibalism in 1904 he proudly recounts in his autobiography — including his favorite recipes, which chiefly involve the cadavers of young women.


New Temporary Exhibition: The Mexican Child

Posted by on Sep 24, 2010 in Collections, History, News, Site | 0 comments

New Temporary Exhibition: The Mexican Child

We have added new paintings: the Mexican Cildren of Diego Rivera, showing some of the children that Rivera painted during his lifetime. We hope you enjoy them.

Hemos agregado nuevas pinturas: Los Niños Mexicanos de Diego Rivera, una muestra de algunas de las obras sobre niños que Rivera pinto durante su vida. Esperemos que las disfruten.