5 p.m. Current exhibitions on view
7 p.m. "Creative Liberties: Orozco's Legacy in Cold War Mexico," an Orozco in Focus lecture by Jennifer Josten in Pomona College, Lincoln 1135 followed by a reception in front of Orozco's Prometheus mural in Frary Dining Hall
Creative Liberties: Orozco’s Legacy in Cold War Mexico
José Clemente Orozco died in 1949, in the midst of heated debates concerning the future of Mexico’s modern muralist tradition in the face of rapid urban and industrial expansion. While Orozco’s Mexican School peers insisted that the nation maintain a commitment to social realism, German émigré artist Mathias Goeritz claimed Orozco’s legacy for abstract art and integración plástica (sculpture integrated into architecture), which he framed in relation to Cold War-era concepts such as creative freedom. The city of Guadalajara was an important locus for these debates, and this lecture will highlight its contributions to midcentury Mexican modernism more broadly.
Jennifer Josten is the Director of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor of Art History at University of Pittsburgh. She specializes in the art of Latin America, Europe, and America since 1940. Josten is currently working on a book about Mexico-based German artist Mathias Goeritz, titled Mathias Goeritz: Modernist Art and Architecture in Cold War Mexico.
About Orozco in Focus
The Pomona College Museum of Art presents Orozco in Focus, a series of lectures by prominent national and international scholars examining the artistic, social and political significance of José Clemente Orozco’s work. The series is presented in conjunction with the Museum’s research and planning for the 2017 exhibition, “Prometheus 2017: Four Artists from Mexico Revisit Orozco,” supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation as part of Pacific Standard Time LA/LA. Orozco in Focus is supported in part by the Janet Inskeep Benton ’79 Fund for Museum Programming and presented in collaboration with Pomona College faculty and departmental partners.
About “Prometheus 2017: Four Artists from Mexico Revisit Orozco”
José Clemente Orozco was one of the three great Mexican muralists, along with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Pomona College is home to Orozco’s Prometheus mural, created in 1930 and recognized as one of the artist’s masterpieces. Prometheus is the first mural painted in the U.S. by one of Los Tres Grandes of Mexican muralism and a work that Jackson Pollock declared the greatest contemporary painting in North America. Orozco’s revolutionary work of art portrays Prometheus in the act of bringing fire to humanity.
For the “Prometheus 2017: Four Artists from Mexico Revisit Orozco” project, the research team—Rebecca McGrew, Pomona College Museum of Art senior curator; Terri Geis, Pomona College Museum of Art curator of academic programs; Mary Coffey, Dartmouth College professor of art history; and Daniel Garza Usabiaga, chief curator at el Museo Universitario del Chopo, in Mexico City—will explore the politics of Orozco's mural and its public mode of communication of social and political positions. Orozco’s vision of Prometheus as an allegory for art that attempts to reach a wider audience—bringing knowledge and enlightenment to the masses—highlights his efforts to transform society.
The exhibition and accompanying publication will examine where and how these traditions of communicative visual strategies married to political dialogue resonate with contemporary artists from Mexico who utilize strategies of activist art, public intervention, social practice, and engaged historical or archival research to connect with a broader public and advance or critique social and political causes.
"Prometheus 2017: Four Artists from Mexico Revisit Orozco" is scheduled to open at Pomona College in September 2017.