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Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art

Diego Rivera Portable Mural Infrastructure

X-rays of Agrarian Leader Zapata, 2011

The Museum of Modern Art has a new exhibit exploring the murals that Diego Rivera created for the Museum in 1931-1932 – only the second monographic exhibition in MoMA’s history.

One of the first – and probably coolest – items one sees is an x-ray of one of Rivera’s “portable murals” made especially for the Museum as there was no space to have permanent murals. The wall text reads, “These x-rays reveal the internal skeleton of one of Rivera’s portable murals for the first time. A metal armature composed of horizontal and diagonal bars, iron mesh, and a rigid steel outer frame provide a torque resistant support for multiple layers of cement and fresco mortar.”

All of the murals are set inside the wall to mimic the mural effect with the cement glittering under the lights. Their subjects range from Mexican politics to New York City at its height of high-rise construction. Interspersed between these murals are very small notebook drawings that are powerful in their small scale and often very telling of Rivera’s political leanings.

All in all, the exhibition is interesting with its regard to the history of MoMA.

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