(Carol Vogel, The New York Times) When Diego Rivera came to New York from Mexico City in 1931 to paint murals for the Museum of Modern Art, The New Yorker wrote that he liked “the Ghetto, the Savoy dance hall in Harlem, Little Italy, the Pennsylvania and Grand Central stations, and American plumbing.”
Rivera also enjoyed working late into the night in a makeshift studio with no heat (heat would have made the paint dry too quickly) in an empty gallery at the museum.
It was there that he produced five “portable murals,” large blocks of free-standing frescoed plaster, concrete and steel that depict events in Mexican history. After the exhibition opened, Rivera created three more murals, each capturing scenes of Depression-era New York. Now, for the first time in 80 years, five of the murals will be united at “Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art,” which opens Sunday and runs through May 14.