New York

Jacob Lawrence, From every Southern town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north, 1940–41, casein tempera on hardboard, 12 × 18". From “Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945.” © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Jacob Lawrence, From every Southern
town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north,
1940–41,
casein tempera on hardboard, 12 × 18". From “Vida Americana:
Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945.” © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

New York

“Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945”

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
February 14–May 17, 2020

Curated by Barbara Haskell with Marcela Guerrero, Sarah Humphreville, and Alana Hernandez

“Let us reject theories anchored in the relativity of ‘NATIONAL ART.’ LET US BECOME UNIVERSAL!” urged David Alfaro Siqueiros in the sole issue of Vida-americana, his magazine dedicated to vanguard culture from the Americas. This namesake exhibition, which will feature nearly two hundred works by more than sixty artists, eschews Siqueiros’s directive in favor of examining the ways in which the three best-known Mexican muralists—José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and Siqueiros himself—transformed US art during their extended sojourns in the country. By placing examples from the expat output of los tres grandes and their Mexican peers alongside contemporaneous works by US artists, the show will elucidate how figures such as Hideo Noda, Jacob Lawrence, and Ben Shahn drew on the muralists’ methods of visualizing collective history and exposing economic and racial injustice. The catalogue will include eleven essays that add texture to the complex and ongoing dynamics of transnational exchange.