David Alfaro Siqueiros (1985) by Antonio Gonzalas Reynoso

David Alfaro Siqueiros (1985) by Antonio Gonzalas Reynoso

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This is from an exhibition at Plaza de la Raza, in Los Angeles, California, from September 15th through October 31st, 1985. It was organized in collaboration with the Secretaria de Educacion Publica Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes/Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. It was sponsored by Councilman Arthur K. Snyder and the City of Los Angeles. David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) was a Mexican social realist painter, best known for his large murals in fresco. Along with Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, he established "Mexican Muralism." He was a Stalinist and member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Leon Trotsky in May 1940. Although many have said that Siqueiros' artistic ventures were frequently "interrupted" by his political ones, Siqueiros himself believed the two were intricately intertwined. In "A New Direction for the New Generation of American Painters and Sculptors," he called for a "spiritual renewal" to simultaneously bring back the virtues of classical painting while infusing this style with "new values" that acknowledge the "modern machine" and the "contemporary aspects of daily life". The manifesto also claimed that a "constructive spirit" is essential to meaningful art. In New York in 1936, he ran a political art workshop in preparation for the 1936 General Strike for Peace and May Day Parade. The young Jackson Pollock attended the workshop and helped build floats for the parade. Continuing to produce several works throughout the late 1930s - such as Echo of a Scream (1937) and The Sob (1939), both now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York - Siqueiros also led a number of experimental art workshops for American students. As a muralist and an artist, Siqueiros believed art should be public, educational, and ideological. He painted mostly murals and other portraits of the revolution - its goals, its past, and the current oppression of the working classes.