Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Social Realism and the Popomo

Since “Popomo” is a term peculiar to this and a very few other sources it is important to clarify. “Po” stands for Post. Pomo stands for Postmodern. Thus, the Popomo is that period after the Postmodern, which I contend passed around the turn of the century.* Social Realism in Art History originated among the Mexican Muralists during the 1920’s and blossomed in the United States and Europe during the 1930’s. *1 My interest here is how that movement relates to art in the Twenty-First Century. Perhaps I should ask the question, does Social Realism relate in any way to contemporary concerns in American Art? Sounds like the topic for a scholarly tomb, and I certainly can’t do that here. Never the less, I can and will write a few journal entries on the subject.

“Let’s start at the very beginning…” in Mexico with the big three Mexican Muralists, Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco and David Siqueiros. Some scholars separate these three along with other artists into another movement they call Socialist Realism thus constructing an artificial opposition to Social Realism. Instead, these great artists are based in a Mexican nationalism and social concerns that grew out of the Mexican Revolution. Yes, they were interested in Carl Marx as were most Social Realists both in Europe and the United States during the 1930’s into the 1940’s. That is not sufficient reason to make two movements where there is but one. I posit that reasons for the separation are based in a 21st Century conservative political world view, or an illogical fear of such. Below are images of the big three Mexican muralist's artwork.

Diego Rivera, Tenochitlan *2

Jose Clemente Orozco, Mural at Baker Library, Dartmouth College *3

David Alforos Siqueiros, Mural in Tecpan *4

To be continued in the future.

Notes and Permissions

*Entries in this journal about the Popomo include the following; 1) John's Post-postmodern Position, 2)Post-postmodern characteristics, 3) Post-postmodernism Defined: Really now John! (Continued), 4) Post-postmodernism: Danger / Caution! Peligro / Precaución, and 5) The Death of Postmodernism: PoMo versus Po-Pomo among others.

*1 Anreus, Alejandro et al, The Social and the Real. Penn State (2005).




1 comment:

Betsy Grant said...

I love the lightness and vision of Diego Rivera. Thanks for sharing.