Diego Rivera: From Mexico to Manhattan: The Revolutionary Life and Times of Diego Rivera
Monday, April 23, 2012, 6:00 p.m.
Theater 3 (The Celeste Bartos Theater), mezzanine, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building
Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art, this three-part lectures series addresses the culture and politics of early-20th-century Mexico, the influence of the Mexican Revolution on Rivera, and the controversial mural Rivera was commissioned to create for Rockefeller Center.
The Revolutionary Life and Times of Diego Rivera
Historian Alan Knight discusses Diego Rivera within his historical context, both in Mexico and as an international figure. Special attention will be paid to examining how the constructive, post-1920 phase of the Mexican Revolution, with its emphasis on state-building and social reform, created opportunities for Rivera and his fellow muralists, especially as the infant revolutionary regime sought political legitimacy by means of public didactic art. This discussion charts the fruitful—though frequently contentious—relationship that ensued, as Rivera tackled the major themes of the revolutionary project: land and labor reform, anticlericalism, nationalism, and indigenismo (the official valorization of Mexico's Indian history and culture). In addition, Knight considers Rivera's key role in the evolving relationship between revolutionary Mexico and the United States.
Alan Knight is Professor of the History of Latin America at Oxford University, where he is a Fellow of St Antony's College and former director of the Latin American Centre. He previously held posts at the University of Essex, UK, and the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Leverhulme Research Reader, and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research focuses on modern Mexico, and his publications include The Mexican Revolution (2 vols., 1986), which won the Beveridge and Bolton prizes of the American Historical Association; and Mexico: From the Beginning to the Spanish Conquest and Mexico: The Colonial Era (2002), two volumes in a proposed trilogy. He has also co-edited books on the Mexican oil industry, Mexican boss politics, and superstition in history, and he has published articles dealing with diverse aspects of Latin America, both past and present. He is currently working on a history of Mexico in the 1930s.
In conjunction with the exhibition Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art
Tickets ($10, $8 members and corporate members, $5 students, seniors and staff of other museums) are available online, at the information desk in the main lobby, and at the film desk after 4:00 p.m. Any remaining tickets may be picked up one hour before the start of the program at the Education and Research Building ticketing desk.