A young man seeing Diego Rivera's mural for Rockefeller Center at Vida Americana at the Whitney Museum in New York

Vida Americana: A Must-See Exhibition in New York

If you’re in New York and you’re looking for things to do that keep you away from the cold, you definitely can’t miss Vida Americana at the Whitney Museum of American Art, on view through January 31, 2021.

When Vida Americana arrived in New York in February 2020 (feels like 10 years ago, right?), I felt excited to know that New Yorkers were about to experience the beauty and essence of my country during the post-revolutionary age, from 1925 to 1945.

People seeing Diego Rivera's mural for Rockefeller Center. Vida Americana exhibit in the Whitney Museum of American art.
Diego Rivera’s mural for Rockefeller Center.

I certainly couldn’t wait to see what this exhibition was truly about, because I only knew one thing: Vida America was dedicated (mostly) to Los Tres Grandes, the three most important Mexican muralists during the post-revolution. What I didn’t know was that I was about to learn a whole new side of Mexican art and history.

So, a whole exhibition of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco in New York? Yes, please!!!

Vida Americana exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Vida Americana shows almost 200 art pieces not only from Los Tres Grandes but from other Mexican artists. Their work during that time inspired other artists such as Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Julius Bloch, and Jacob Burck whose creations are also exhibited in Vida Americana. There you can see how the European aesthetic domination was coming to end due to the pursuit of new ways of creativity and art.

I mean, did you know that Siqueiros influenced Jackson Pollock’s art? That’s right! In 1936, Pollock participated in an experimental workshop where he got closer to muralism and big canvas techniques.

Naked man, painting by Jackson Pollock made between 1938 and 1941. Shown in Vida Americana exhibit.
Naked man, Jackson Pollock, 1938-41.
A woman y taking a picture with her cellphone of America Tropical, mural made by David Alfaro Siqueiros in Los Angeles in 1932.
‘America Tropical’, mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros in Los Angeles, 1932.

Throughout this exhibition in the Whitney Museum, you can contemplate how deep, raw, and honest art was during these years when social justice was a priority within Mexico’s everyday life.

So, as a Mexican, do I recommend Vida Americana? Absolutely!! Not only I saw a different side of my country, but I got to deeply understand Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco’s art. To see what moved them, how committed they were with social justice, and how they influenced other international artists was mind-blowing.

And if you’re looking for more options, don’t forget to visit any other museum in the city which are now open to the public.  

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