Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Diego's Wall - "Do you use any blue? Is it Prussian?"

A nice conjunction of interests recently - my friends Gaby and Simon from England writing from San Francisco that they were enjoying murals by Diego Rivera reminded me to search for E. B. White's witty poem "I Paint What I See" from the New Yorker. When Rivera's mural " Man at the Crossroads looking with uncertainty but with hope and high vision to the choosing of a course Leading to a New and Brighter future" was removed in 1993 at the orders of J. D. Rockefeller's grandson Nelson - partly because the painting included a portrait of Lenin, there was much public protest. The clash of integrity and worker's rights and third world aspirations with the center of capitalism in New York and the wealthy elite is probably no surprise.

Of course this immediate public reaction. Michael Hallinan posts "Art Hits the Wall: Property Rights versus Artistic Expression."

More recently, blogger Lyle Daggett in "A Burning Patience" mentions this incident in his post on Proletarian Poetry.

Wall photo credit via Google Images from the American Studies program at the University of Virginia


Blogger Lyle Daggett said...

Happened to come across this post while Google surfing. Appreciate the link to the post in my blog.

A couple of details to nitpick:

The Diego Rivera mural was destroyed by Rockefeller Center management in early 1934 (not 1993). A couple of accounts of this can be found in the PBS website, here and here.

Also, regarding the E.B. White poem about the Rivera mural incident, "I Paint What I See":

A couple of online sources I checked indicate that the last stanza of the poem was published in the New Yorker in May 1933 (not 1993). The full poem may have been published there at some point though I don't have documentation. I searched the online New Yorker archive and didn't find anything. I assume the date 1993 (given in Michael Hallinan's website where you linked) was a typo.

E.B. White died in 1985. I originally found the poem in an anthology published in 1938 (as cited in my blogpost you linked to).

Thanks for posting about this.

11:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home