New York

Eitarō Ishigaki, Soldiers of the People’s Front (The Zero Hour), ca. 1936–37, oil on canvas, 58 1⁄2 × 81 1⁄2".

Eitarō Ishigaki, Soldiers of the People’s Front (The Zero Hour), ca. 1936–37, oil on canvas, 58 1⁄2 × 81 1⁄2".

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

Whitney Museum of American Art

Eitarō Ishigaki, Soldiers of the People’s Front (The Zero Hour), ca. 1936–37, oil on canvas, 58 1⁄2 × 81 1⁄2".

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

FOR THE SECOND TIME since its relocation, the Whitney Museum of American Art appropriated the word America from a context with a hemispheric connotation to refer solely to the United States in an exhibition title. The first instance was in 2015, with its inaugural downtown show “America Is Hard to See,” named partly after a Robert Frost poem about Columbus’s encounter with the New World. This spring, “Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945” co-opted the name of a journal published by artist and agitator David Alfaro Siqueiros in Barcelona in 1921 whose scope was the hemispheric Americas. The title’s slippage was indicative of the exhibition’s other oversights: It misrepresented Mexican art by approaching it from the vantage point of the United States.

The simplistic

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the July/August 2020 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.