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Diego Rivera at the San Francisco Art Institute


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/20767

Diego Rivera at the San Francisco Art Institute

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Title: Diego Rivera at the San Francisco Art Institute
Author: Ellenshaw, Hilary
Advisor(s): Barnet-Sanchez, Holly
Committee Member(s): Szabo, Joyce
Johnston, Adrian
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Art and Art History
Subject: Mural, Marx, Mexico, San Francisco, Public Art, Diego Rivera
LC Subject(s): Rivera, Diego,1886-1957 -- Criticism and interpretation
Mural painting and decoration, Mexican -- California -- San Francisco -- 20th century
San Francisco Art Institute -- History
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: This thesis explores ways in which the mural The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City at the San Francisco Art Institute by Diego Rivera (Mexico, 1886 – 1957) in 1931 potentially affects the viewer. The main question I am addressing is why did Rivera’s visual language not communicate clearly to his United States audience? Was it a misuse of icons, a misreading, or an intentional dismissal on the audiences’ part that caused the mural that is based on a Marxist philosophy of art and labor to go completely undetected in the United States press? I conclude it was the latter, that critics and journalists did not want to reveal the progressive message of the mural and instead focused on its formal aspects. The evidence provided is original research of the newspaper coverage at the time of the unveiling of the mural as well as the scholarship done on the mural since. In addition to an examination into the formal qualities of the fresco, I also look into the history of the mural and discuss the way the San Francisco Art Institute has alternately hidden and promoted it over the eight decades of its existence.
Graduation Date: May 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/20767

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