NYC-ARTS

S2020 E505 | CLIP

NYC-ARTS Choice: Whitney Museum, "Vida Americana"

An exploration of "Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945," at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition examines the work of muralists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and artists in the United States, from Jacob Lawrence to Jackson Pollock, who were inspired by these muralists. Curator Barbara Haskell is our guide.

AIRED: November 19, 2020 | 0:07:37
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> [Background Music]

NEXT, THE VISIT TO THE WHITNEY

MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART.

CLOSED SINCE MARCH DUE TO THE

PANDEMIC, THE MUSEUM OPENED THE

DOORS AGAIN LAST MONTH, WITH NEW

MEASURES TO ENSURE SAFETY AND

PROPERTY SOCIAL DISTANCING.

THE MEXICAN REMARK OF AMERICAN

ART, 1925 TO 1945 HAS BEEN

EXTENDED.

AFTER THE REVOLUTION, THE NEW

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ART AND THE

PUBLIC EMERGED IN MEXICO.

MOST VISIBLE IN WORKS OF THESE

ARTISTS.

INSPIRED BY THE STYLE AND

SUBJECT MATTER OF THE MURALISTS,

ARTISTS IN THE UNITED STATES,

FROM JACOB LAWRENCE AND JACKSON

POLLIC, STARTED THEIR NARRATIVES

IN ART AND HISTORY.

WE SPOKE ABOUT THE 200 WORKS BY

60 MEXICAN AND AMERICAN ARTISTS.

>> THE LEADING MEXICAN MURAL.

RIVERA, AND SECUROSE.

THE PRESIDENT COMMISSIONED

ARTISTS TO CREATE A MONUMENTAL

PUBLIC MURALS, FOR MEXICAN

HISTORY, AND AFTER THE

REVOLUTION, THE COUNTRY THAT HAD

BEEN FRACTURED BY THE 10-YEAR

CIVIL CONFLICT.

THERE WAS A SENSE IT HAD TO BE

REDEFINED.

AND THE REAL MEXICO, A BED ROCK

OF A NEW IDENTITY, DRAW FROM

EUROPE, AND INDIGENOUS MEXICAN

TRADITIONS.

A SELF PORTRAIT THAT SHE

CREATED.

THE MURALS CREATED A UNIQUE,

POWERFUL AESTHETIC THAT TOLD

STORY THAT IS EVERYDAY PEOPLE

COULD RELATE TO.

TO AMERICAN ARTISTS, THAT WAS

REVOLUTIONARY.

NOTHING LIKE IT HAPPENED SINCE

THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE.

1927, ALL THREE LEADING

MURALISTS CAME TO THE U.S., WITH

INTENSE RELATIONSHIPS WITH U.S.

ARTISTS.

THE MOST FAMOUS OF THE MEXICAN

MURALISTS, HE WAS CALLED THE

GREATEST ARTIST THIS SIDE OF THE

ATLANTIC, THE HERO OF THE

WESTERN WORLD.

THE FRENCH HAVE ALWAYS BEEN

CREDITED AS THE DOMINANT

INFLUENCES ON U.S. ART.

1900 TO 1950.

THIS REWRITES HISTORY, IT WAS

THE MEXICAN ARTISTS WITH THE

MOST PROFOUND IDELOGICAL AND

AESTHETIC POLITICAL IMPACT ON

AMERICAN ARTISTS IN THE TWO

DECADES BETWEEN THE WARS.

STAYED IN CALIFORNIA.

COLLEGE.

PROMETHUOUS, WE HAVE THAT AT

HALF SCALE.

IT FILLS THE GALLERY WITH THIS

COMPOSITION, VOCABULARY.

HE WAS MESMERIZED.

HE SAID IT WAS SOMEBODY THAT

ALLOWED HIM TO THINK OF ART

FILLED WITH SOCIAL CONTENT AND

AESTHETICALLY POWERFUL.

WE HAVE A SERIES FROM THE

MIGRATION SERIES.

IT IS EVIDENT HE HAS TAKEN THE

COLORS, AND USING THEM TO TELL A

STORY ABOUT HIS PEOPLE.

JACKSON POLLACK AS AN

18-YEAR-OLD, HE VISITED THE

PROMETTUOUS MURAL, HE WAS

ENERGIZED.

HE SAID IT WAS THE MOST

IMPORTANT IN THE WESTERN

HEMISPHERE.

IN THE ROOM, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF

JUXPOSITIONS, SIDE BY SIDE WITH

THE WORK, AND IT IS COMPELLING.

HE CHALLENGED THE IMAGERY, SENSE

OF TRAGEDY.

ORIGINAL.

THE YOUNGEST OF THE MEXICAN

MURALISTS, THE MOST MILITANT

POLITICALLY.

WENT TO LOUISIANA IN 1932.

THE BIGGEST MURAL COMMISSIONED

BY STERLING.

ASKING HIM TO PAINT A HAPPY MEN,

SURROUNDED BY PALM TREES, OF

COURSE, WHAT HE CAME UP WITH WAS

A STRONG DENUNCIATION OF

IMPERALLISM IN LATIN AMERICA.

IN THE CENTER, HE PANTDED IN THE

MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

ASSISTANTS HAD DONE THE REST OF

THE MURAL.

AZTEC TEMPLES, HE WENT IN AND

PAINTED HIMSELF AN INDIGENOUS

MAN ON A CROSS, AND SHE WAS

HORRIFIED.

AND THE WHITE WASHED IT.

THE PHOTOGRAPH, TAKEN AT THE

TIME.

A POWERFUL MOMENT IN THE

EXHIBITION.

THE PICTURE IS AESTHETICALLY

SHORTENING OF FORM.

NEW INSPIRATION FROM THE

MEXICANS.

WHAT ARTISTS ARE DEALING WITH,

THE OTHER ASPECTS OF THE

EXHIBITION IS THE WORK IS SO

POWERFUL, AESTHET KAESHLGS

CONVEY A SOCIAL MESSAGE.

IT DOES HAVE A SOCIAL ROLE, ART

DOES SHOW US SOMETHING ABOUT HOW

WE CAN VIEW THE WORLD.

I THINK THAT IS A LESSON THAT IS

EXPRESSED IN THIS EXHIBITION,

AND I HOPE EVERYBODY COMES AND

CAN ENJOY.

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