May 15, 2013  |  Artists, Publications
A Modern Way to Explore Three Great Figures of Mexican Art

Taking monumental frescos to a multitouch screen, MoMA’s eBook Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Josè Clemente Orozco offers a fresh exploration of three great figures in the revival of mural painting that brought modern Mexican art to international attention after the Mexican Revolution of 1910–20.

The Museum of Modern Art holds arguably the most important collection of modern Mexican art outside Mexico, including more than 175 objects by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Josè Clemente Orozco. This book presents ten significant works from this groundbreaking collection, including two frescos commissioned by the Museum. James Oles, a leading scholar and curator of Mexican art, takes readers on a journey through the political, cultural, and geographic underpinnings behind each of these works.

As Oles explains, “all of the muralists—inspired by Renaissance and Baroque masters—rejected abstraction for realism with the goal of accelerating political and social change in the wake of the Revolution, but ultimately they shared neither style nor political ideology.” Though they had their artistic and political differences, the artists came together through working relationships in organization like the Syndicate of Technical Workers, Painters, and Sculptors, a union formed by Rivera and Siqueiros and supported by artists like Orozco.

Oles’s essay is interwoven with external visual references, from vintage photographs to Aztec sculpture, to help the reader contextualize the artists’ ideas and influences. It is fascinating to trace Rivera’s departure from Cubism during his time in France and to study the similarities between Siquieros’s Echo of a Scream (1937) and Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, The Scream (1893). The multitouch functionality of the iPad screen allows for larger reproductions of images than in a printed book, inviting a closer look at the artwork.

For more on Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Josè Clemente Orozco, visit the iBookstore to download a free sample of the eBook. A paperback version is available from the MoMA store. Other titles in the MoMA Artist series available for the iPad include Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cézanne, Fernand Léger, and Henri Matisse.