Diego Rivera’s America won’t be around for much longer at SFMOMA! The massive exhibition is the most in-depth examination of Rivera’s work in over 2 decades, with over 150 frescoes, paintings and drawings on display. The works come primarily from the pinnacle of Rivera’s career from the 1920s to the mid-1940s, and some of them haven’t been seen publicly since being in the artist’s own studio. See it now through January 3, 2023.
SFMOMA’s existing collection of Rivera’s work comprises over 70 pieces, making it one of the largest in the world. This exhibition has been supplemented with additional works from both public and private collections in the U.S., U.K., and Mexico. Some of the most popular paintings on display include The Corn Grinder (1926), Dance in Tehuantepec (1928), Flower Carrier (1935) and Portrait of Lupe Marín (1938). Each gallery is dedicated to a theme from Rivera’s life, including places like Tehuantepec and Manhattan, and subjects such as street markets.
The crowning moment of the exhibition is of course Rivera’s enormous Pan American Unity mural, which SFMOMA installed in the Roberts Family Gallery space last year. Rivera painted Pan American Unity on Treasure Island in 1940 at the Golden Gate International Exhibition’s “Art In Action” exhibit, where artists work live in front of an audience. The mural measures 74 feet wide by 22 feet tall, covering a total of almost 1,800 square feet, and it’s already on display – in fact, you don’t even need a ticket to see this piece.
The legendary work of Diego Rivera has a special place in San Francisco history, as he famously lived here with his then-wife Frida Kahlo for 6 months in 1930. During that time and in the following years, both artists created legendary works that are still preserved today in places around the city. The City Club in downtown SF is home to Allegory of California, and The San Francisco Art Institute houses The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City.
“Rivera was one of the most aesthetically, socially and politically ambitious artists of the 20th century,” said exhibition guest curator James Oles. “He was deeply concerned with transforming society and shaping identity—Mexican identity, of course, but also American identity, in the broadest sense of the term. Because of his utopian belief in the power of art to change the world, Rivera is an essential artist to explore anew today, from a contemporary perspective.”
Be sure to experience Diego Rivera’s America through January 3, 2023 at SFMOMA.
Featured image: Diego Rivera, ‘Flower Seller,’ 1926; Honolulu Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Spalding, 1932; © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art. Photo via SFMOMA.