Archive for November, 2011

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Nov 28 2011 Published by under Reviews

Money is the root of all evil. Although not entirely true, the preceding statement bears great relevance to the world of art. Money can often work as a corruptive force in the lives of artists. Some of our favorite musical talents grow in the underground scene, where our fandom begins. We wish them success but also to be cautious of the negatively transformative power of money. However, upon “blowing up,” their messages are often tainted by industry executives who wish to make the music more marketable. Then we accuse them of “selling out.” Diego Rivera underwent an almost analogous situation. Rivera built a reputation as an extremely talented artist. Thus, the esteemed Rockefeller family commissioned a Rivera mural to be placed in their great, forthcoming center. The Rockefellers should have taken the message of his other pieces into consideration, though. Murals such as “Liberation of the Peon” and “Uprising” display his clear support for the working class. In his mural Rivera stayed true to his message, and did not “sell out,” a commendable action. Still, Rockefeller was not wrong in his decision to remove the mural. Not only was he the patron of the piece, but the center was also being built in his name. Therefore, any message in the mural would reflect directly on him. Destroying the mural was also his right, but it definitely displayed a lack of character and appreciation for art on his part. I am sure he could have easily had it removed and transported at Rivera’s expense.

Personally, genuineness is of the utmost importance to me. In fact there is no principle I value more. Thus, knowing the history of the mural controversy is absolutely necessary when evaluating Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller’s decision to have the mural removed may cause visitors to question the purpose of other features of the center.


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