Thoughts

November 28, 2011

Rockefeller 1 Rivera 0

Filed under: Reviews — samueljenk @ 2:15 am

Rockefeller Center is a New York City Landmark.  Any tourist who visits NYC always makes sure to at least stop by.  Whether its Christmas time and the Tree is up or its winter and the Skating Rink is up.  At its inception, Nelson Rockefeller decided to ask an artist to paint a mural that would be shown at Rockefeller Center.  After Picasso and Matisse declined, Diego Rivera was commissioned.  However, Rivera ended up causing more trouble than his art was worth.

 

The biggest problem with Rivera’s mural was the picture of Vladimir Lenin.  Lenin was a leader in Communist Russia and was not the man that any of the Rockefellers wanted to see.   Another issue was Rivera’s portraits of alcohol.  On a plaque in the MOMA it said that the Rockefeller family was pro-prohibition.  Rivera on the other hand was not.  Both these issues pushed the Rockefeller hand, and they decided not to use Rivera’s mural.

 

I do think the right decision was made to keep the murals out of Rockefeller center.  The Rockefellers were and still are an American institution and by creating a communal gathering are they were creating a legacy.  Therefore they wanted to protect themselves from any negativity and backlash.  I do not think that Rivera’s art was so instrumental that it could outweigh their values.  I think that the blame lies solely on Diego Rivera.  When being hired for this monumental of a job, Rivera should have adhered to exactly what the Rockefellers wanted.  By painting objectionable items into the murals he disobeyed the Rockefeller’s wishes and the right measures were taken.



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