Murals speak louder than words : Nelson Rockefeller - Diego Rivera clash and making of the US art culturre during the 1930's
Kohn, Edward P.
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This study examines part of the US art culture, more specifically the transformation it underwent during the 1930’s through the case study, Nelson Rockefeller-Diego Rivera clash. This clash has such an importance in the US history as it triggered the questions of function in art in the US. The study mainly argues that by triggering these questions, Rockefeller-Rivera clash and Rivera himself contributed to the change in the perception of art work in the US during New Deal. They contributed to the emergence of federal programs which not only offered work relief for the unemployed artists but also motivated the poverty-stricken American nation and iv injected a “cultural nationalism” as the Historian Harris states1 . More and more examples of artwork began to address social issues and went against the notion of “art for art’s sake.” The clash was also instrumental in organizing American painters and depicting them the advantage of federal funding over patronage. This research also demonstrates the culturally symbiotic relation between the US and Mexican cultures during 1933 through art. Conclusively, it brings a new approach to Rivera-Rockefeller clash, which was regarded to be a morbid phenomenon. The contribution of the clash to the change in the perception of American art, which ended up turning into “actionable” art during the New Deal, was remarkable. This type of art reached out more American people and became democratized to some extent.
KeywordsDiego Rivera - Nelson Rockefeller clash
new deal art
Federal Art Project