Vida Americana Review Essay

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Vida Americana Review Essay

Vida Americana Review Essay: Introduction

For centuries, individuals have always found new ways of expressing emotion, ideas, and world views. Accordingly, one could experience art galleries, paintings, compositions, and exhibitions. These places are considered as the embodied and collective results of human intellectual to express feelings about the world and everything. Therefore, when analyzing, these places should be meticulously examined in a multifaceted way. In this direction, Vida Americana has been analyzed in this assignment in terms of its mural and how it addresses to distinct audiences. The paper also presents insights into the purpose, sub-themes, organization, text, artworks, and a summary within the text.

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Vida Americana is made into a masterpiece by “the big three” that is Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. These Mexican muralists filled the empty gap of American History in the 20th century. Because they were Mexican, with the “American jobs are for Americans” act of Herbert Hoover, their works were ignored, and they lost their label of “The best Renaissance in the contemporary world.” Their massive murals show a story on its own, and if one was to take a look, it is easy to see the importance and skill hidden behind it. In other words, these people are widely respected, mostly due to their exposure to discrimination. However, they did not give up and continue with their thorough and intellectual expressions.

The purpose of the exhibition is like I have mentioned in the introduction, is the recreation of both the Mexican and American History. The Mexican muralists, although they lived in the US for most of their lives, went back to Mexico to recreate their native art while also influencing the Americans in the 1900s. It is fair to say that Vida Americana broke the chains European people put onto them. Its main message is to show the cultural exchange between the two cultures over the course of late History. As understood from the leading website whitney.org, it is targeted towards everyone leaning towards socialism. The artworks inside the museum are not chronologically sorted. It is chosen to be a better idea to sort the pieces by their theme.

Therefore, there are groups of themes in which similarly themed paintings stay. Although this way of sorting might not be liked by some because of it creating confusion, in my opinion, it is much better this way as it is possible to see the different techniques used in artworks that are portraying the same theme. When it comes to the subject of proportions between the item and the text, some problems arise. For instance, there are many massive murals that are in the museum, and putting a text on the side of it might be challenging as it is almost impossible to have the correct proportion of art and text. Yet it is also important to note that the size of the text is more than necessary for such an exhibition.

The exhibition site is fascinating, and one thing that is interesting is that the display can be understood by anyone regardless of the knowledge of the viewer. It is almost impossible to not feel something when one is inside the exhibition. The created atmosphere is touching, and viewing a giant mural takes one out of the collection and puts him/her into the art. The language that is used is leaning more towards an authoritative style. Instead of letting the reader create the path of the text, the text directs the reader. This chosen language is beneficial as it puts the reader into the right mindset. The artworks not only support the exhibition’s message, but it directly creates the main message. Vida Americana is considered the most relevant show of the 21st century many times. The exhibition contains 10,000 years of History in their works. Thus, it is possible to see every living class in the paintings, whether it is child labor or the slave trade. Interestingly, there are also important figures from History that appear in these mentioned works. For instance, there is Lenin, Henry Ford, Sojourner Truth. Yet the individualism is not the only subject in Vida Americana as it also portrayed events such as the Columbian genocide. Yet, it is impossible not to talk about the big three when the subject is Vida Americana.

It is possible to compare the artwork of the big three to Marx’s manifesto as it mostly revolves around the oppression of races and lower classes, whether it is the workers or the peasants, the message stays the same. Especially for Siqueiros, the current system was the root of evil, and for a change to happen, everything must change to its smallest details. According to him, art for personal satisfaction or expression is meaningless as it should be used to educate a mass population about an issue. Art must be a symbol of a fight, a resistance, a group. With this knowledge, understanding Siqueiros’ works become much easier. His works are not about his feelings; he uses the thoughts of the masses as his brush and paints a greater idea. In the Echo of a Scream, we see the devastating aftermath of war. The color grey is dominant in this painting as it represents destruction and lack of life. There is a crying face with nothing but destruction around. Like I have mentioned above, it represents not the individual feelings, but the feelings of everyone who lived through the tragedy of war.

Orozco, on the other hand, focused more on political murals. He is the most complex Mexican muralist, and he was the best when it comes to the subject of suffering. Just like Siqueiros, he defends the working class and peasants a lot. Man at the Crossroads, also known as Man, Controller of the Universe, by Rivera shows a brutal history. In the middle, we see the clash of socialism and capitalism. The mural changes depending on which side the viewer is looking at. While some believe that it shows the contrast of capitalism, others thought it was anti-capitalist propaganda. Unfortunately, this hate of socialism costed the life of this amazing work. It was destroyed, but thankfully a replica was made by Rivera himself again a year later. Even though the mural had influences from Communism, it was mainly focused on the worker class and science. One can see the images of atoms and biological organs inside the panels in the middle. The work bravely shows the difference in classes as it is divided into two sides, capitalism and socialism.

Vida Americana Review Essay: Conclusion

In conclusion, this exhibition is a great way to open a new eye if one is willing to do so. The reason I said if one is willing to do so is because, as Leo Tolstoy said, one can not add a drop of water to a full glass. To really understand the meaning and power behind these works, one has to view the works in a clear state of mind. It shows suffering and inequality, concepts that are only known by the most unfortunate. We should know the fact that we are not alone in this world, and just because we are lucky enough to avoid disasters, it doesn’t mean that everyone is as lucky as we are.

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