Diego Rivera = Overrated

I don't get the deal with Diego Rivera. Everyone sings his praises, though his art was rudimentary. Plenty of Los Angeles murals outshine his, except maybe in Venice Beach, where murals go to die. It was interesting when he married the eccentric and infinitely more talented Frida Kahlo, but otherwise, holy Crayola. Was it his soul that people admired? Becasue he may have been a painter "for the people," but he was also a gluttonous philanderer shameless enough to bed Frida's sister Cristina.  He can paint all the tubby, barefoot field workers he wants, but he seemed indifferent to human suffering, considering how much he caused.

Am I being too hard on the man who shares the same last name as Geraldo? Maybe. My favorite painter is John Singer Sargent, so it may be an issue of taste. I just know that when I walked into Tinsmith, a breathtaking Mexican gallery illuminated by handcrafted tin (pictured above) I couldn't believe that Diego Rivera was the best Mexican artist we could come up with. You can find this amazing Mexican craft gallery in Old Town San Diego.

The art in Tinsmith is an ethereal mix of the camp that's Dia de los Muertos and the exquisite refinement of Renaissance art. We're so busy praising crudely painted calla lilies, that we tend to overlook this unrivaled medium. Tinsmith is definitely worth a visit.

That's what I'm talking about.

This? Yea not so much.


Anonymous said...

If you are wondering why you do not understand the praise for Diego Rivera, i can quickly explain that for you. Heres why: you're an idiot.

Anonymous said...

"You're an idiot" ??? That sounds like cyberbullying to me--not to mention an extremely unintelligent critique of the blog.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. His addition of Lenin on the Rockefeller mural was designed to embarrass his patron. Rockefeller tried to compromise, and when that failed, paid off Rivera and had workers chisel it off the wall. (I added the only known photograph of the unfinished work)
Rivera reproduced the mural in Mexico City, this time showing Nelson Rockefeller's father, John D. Rockefeller Jr., a lifelong teetotaler, drinking in a nightclub with a woman; above their heads is a dish of syphilis bacteria.
As a fellow muralist we raise Rivera on-high but he was a rude, drunken adulterous wife beater... with amazing God given talent. As a painter, I am always conscious that I am a guest and this is not my personal canvas but the client's wall.
On a matter of pure taste, I also feel far more moved by Sert's mural, A work of sublime execution of perspective and powerful imagery

Blue said...

I like the motion in Diego Rivera's painting better than the more detailed painting that you preferred -- which seems to show no liveliness or motion in the way it presents its subjects. That said, I find the lack of faces in much of his artwork to be disconcerting, but I feel like it's very indicative of who he was as a person. I mean, the human face isn't just the most individual part of each of us, and the way we distinguish one person from the next, but it's also the center of so much unspoken emotional expression. The fact that this didn't seem to concern him much has an interesting parallel to his behavior throughout his life. He seems like somebody who was truly lacking in humanity, considering all I've read about him. But, his artwork is a truly perfect reflection of him as a person, from what I can see. And, truth be told, from an intimate perspective, that's really what art is -- an expression of the artist's view of the world. It may not be beautiful to everyone -- and certainly, from what I read of him, neither was he -- but from what I can tell, he was certainly accurate to himself.