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Monday, January 25, 2016

Diego Rivera

"Only the work of art itself 
can raise the standard of taste."

— Diego Rivera
Mexican Artist / Muralist
1886 - 1957

The Flower Carrier
People talk of taste as if it was real.  It is an illusion of judgement.  Every work of art, every poem, and every story has value.  When people begin to label art as good or bad, they are creating false categories that are based on artificial judgements.  What the majority label as good today may be considered bad tomorrow.  You may like something or not like something which in itself is okay.  Liking or disliking reveals something about you.  There is nothing inherently bad or good within the work of art itself.  The sense of good or bad is in the eyes of the beholder. Any judgement made about a work of art is actually a judgement of the person who made the statement.

While there may only be one person today who likes your art, it does not make the art bad. Two hundred years from now the majority of people may consider it a masterpiece.  Taste is fickle and useless.

Diego Rivera, the great Mexican Muralist,  painted a number of murals in the United States during the 1930's.  Edsel Ford hired him to paint a mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts which is still on view today.  John Rockefeller commissioned him to paint a mural in New York.  Since Rivera was a communist, he included a portrait of Lenin in the mural.  When Rockefeller demanded that he remove the portrait from the mural, Rivera refused.  Rockefeller had the mural destroyed.  In the 1930's, a portrait of Lenin was unacceptable to the American public taste.  A work of art was destroyed because the subject matter was unacceptable.  Three hundred years from now, most people probably will never had heard of Lenin and nobody will be offended.  Remember public taste is fickle and arbitrary.