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Detroit Industry, North Wall, Frescoes by Diego Rivera (1886-1957, Mexico)

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Detroit Industry, North Wall

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Detroit Industry is a series of 27 murals depicting industry, painted on the walls of the Ford Motor Company, and was considered by Rivera to be his best work. Whereas some of the panels depict workers in the Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant, other panels illustrate all areas of industry, including medicine, science, and technology. Due to Rivera’s controversial Marxist philosophy, the murals were criticized by the clergy, politicians and the public, 10,000 of whom visited the murals in a single day. The clergy members, who were invited to come and criticize the work, determined that it was a parody of the birth of Christ and demanded that it be destroyed. But Edsel Ford and the Detroit Institute of Arts defended the murals, which were eventually allowed to stay. Later, during the anti-communistic era of the 1950’s a large sign was placed outside the entrance to the murals, defending their artistic merit, all the while decrying Rivera’s politics as “detestable.”
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Diego Rivera

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