Course Description

Transforming Public Space: Mural Art in Mexico and the United States

At the beginning of this course, we focused on the work of Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros who began their careers in Mexico, but whom also produced significant art in the U.S. We then analyzed reproductions of Rivera’s and Orozco’s art, documentaries, and films that illustrated aspects of their lives. Focusing on Rivera, we also learned about his wife’s story, Frida Kahlo. Near the end of the term, we also considered the performance piece, Orozco Mexotica, produced by artist Guillermo Gomez Pena. Finally, we studied how Rivera and Orozco’s artwork influenced later generations of Latino/a murals and graffiti artists in the United States.

The discussions posted on this site refer to the discussions we had in class concerning our analysis and reaction to the Orozco murals, the film Frida and Cradle Will Rock, and our opinion on how public spaces and art should function.

At the end of the term, we had a final research paper regarding the influence of the Mexican muralists on public art. My research focuses primarily on street art. I argue that despite street art’s unsanctioned work, it has been a platform for artists such as Vhils, Blu, and Swoon, to provide a representation of the common people’s struggle similar to the authorized work by the Mexican muralists Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros.