Art 1 – Due Dec 9 “Siqueiros”


Read the following two articles and watch the video about David Alfaro Siqueiros, who made an impact on many American artists (including Rosenquist).

Siqueiros in LA

In your comments, choose and discuss two from the following four questions:

1. What is the most interesting aspect to you about  the creation of this Siqueiros mural?

2. What are the most important aspects to you about the social and historic context?

3. How did Siqueiros and this mural influence other artists?

4. Do you see a connection with Rosenqist’s F-111? How do these works differ?

In your sketchbook, do a Siqueiros inspired drawing that is relevant to an issue you care about. Work for an hour and mark the time on the back.


29 responses »

  1. I am responding to questions 3 and 4.

    3)I think that Siquerios influenced other artists to speak out against what they thought was wrong. He influenced people to stand up for what they believe in and he showed them a way to do so; by creating a mural with symbolic meaning. He influenced artists to take risks and be rebellious. He influenced them to be bold and make a statement with their art work.

    4) I see a definite similarities and differences between Siquerios’ mural and Rosenquist’s F-111. They both speak out against the government and what they think is wrong about it; things like imperialism. They differ in how they deliver that message, though. Rosenquist makes you digest the whole piece and lets you come to your own decision about the piece. It’s interpretative. Whereas, Siquerios makes a bold and rebellious statement. The mural is obviously conveying pain and suppression from a group of people. You can’t misinterpret it.

    • You make a good distinction between Siqueiros’ deliberate approach and Rosenquist’s F-111 requiring the viewer’s interpretation. The first-glance appeal of pop art often requires a closer look to find layers of meaning.

  2. 1) I found it very interesting that Siqueiros developed a new way to paint murals, while creating this work. I didn’t know that he was the one who created the technique of spray painting murals, and did it outside. I also found it interesting that he went completely against the women who commissioned the painting, and mortified everyone at the unveiling of the mural.

    3) I think that Siqueiros inspired other artists by creating this new way to paint murals. I also think that other artists were inspired by him, because he was bold enough to go against what was asked of him, to do something that he strongly believed in

    • It’s interesting and surprising that Siqueiros was commissioned for a purely decorative mural, considering his reputation as a revolutionary artist. He certainly pushed the boundaries of what was expected. Early on, Siquieros declared that art “should aim to become a fighting educative art for all.”

  3. Response to #1 and #4

    1. I think it’s interesting how his work influenced so many people and spoke about issues that we happening and still happen today. His work touched the minds of many people.

    4. It’s similar mural-style and they both speak about issues.

  4. 1) I think it is really cool that Siqueiros went through so much and he used it to inspire himself for his artwork. It is amazing because the way he used the spray paint makes the painting look like he did it with a brush, and it is cool that he was the one to start the method to use spray paint.

    3) I think his art gave other artists a lot of new ways to see art. He showed them how to use spray paint, and his artwork made it easier for the other artists to express their ideas in their artwork, and to be risky sometimes with their art.

  5. 1. I think it’s interesting that Siqueiros was able to finish the mural before they covered it up. It seems like the officials would have known what he was going to do before he painted the whole wall.
    3. Siqueiros influenced other artists by using spray paint which inspired graffiti art. His artistic portrayals and ideas about the Americas probably inspired other activist art.

  6. The most important social and historical aspects of the creation of the Siquieros mural was the fact that it portrayed America as an oppressive force, rather than the democratic, free institution it was almost universally advertised as. Although most people in the present day would agree with Siquieros’ view of America, it was incredibly radical at the time. This is similar to the F-111 in that it takes many symbols that otherwise would have nothing to do with each other and pushes them all together. They can also both be interpreted as being a political attack on America.

  7. 1. To me the most interesting aspect of this mural is that he was able to create such a finalized mural using a technique that was new.

    3. His mural inspired other artists because it was a radical statement and even though it was painted over, it still made an impression. also, it pioneered a technique that allowed street murals to be painted more easily by using spray paint.

  8. 1) The most interesting aspect of this particular mural was how the white wash preserved the art piece. It’s like the painting would not die, just like Siqueiros’s ideas about government.

    3) This mural was important for a number of important reasons. First off is was the start of a new medium, which was spray painting, which is one of the preferred mediums for expressing political or social views. The mural influenced or maybe represented how an artist can interpret what they’re supposed to draw. Siqueiros instead of drawing a tropical village, wanted to represent the displacement of natives.

  9. 2: I found the fact that the government was silencing free speech and not taking responsibility for the way that it has treated indigenous peoples to be important in that it largely characterizes the way in which our government has been acting and how it has changed now.

    3: I feel as though this work of of particular influential importance because it seems to have started the legitimization of spray paint as a real art form which is often not or seen that.

  10. 1. What is the most interesting aspect to you about the creation of this Siqueiros mural?
    I like how it is a political painting but probably for me, the most interesting aspect of Siqueiros mural is the eagle baring down on the double cross. While the eagle is not the center of the picture (I think the double cross with the Indian is), I feel it is the large representation of the United States and our political government. The eagle is a mighty symbol of our Country. It is small it represents something big and that’s why to me it is the most interesting choice.

    2. What are the most important aspects to you about the social and historic context?
    Like most things in life, it takes someone who is a radical to make a difference. He’s a pioneer of spray painting that helped others discover new ways to do art. He inspired others and was not afraid to share/show what he thought or how he sees things. He’s artwork was political and his mural, although painted over, gave inspiration to others. I think he gave courage to those who are artists to show their views and even non artists as well.

  11. 1.I really like his painting style, with a little bit abstractive, some unreal things, but with specific meaning. On his black and white drawing, the deepness of the black gave people impression like shadow, and with a little bit twist, the total feeling of the drawing gave to people was great.

    3.I think his statement really inspired other artists, he showed that it’s important and valuable to express the new idea of art to people. He showed people that to have the spirit of find new, creating is important.

  12. 1. I found the fact the mural could not be crushed or destroyed by man to be very interesting and I think it says something very profound about art itself.
    3. Well It obviously influenced spray paint and graffiti artists because its obviously something you see everywhere. It also has a striking message which is something less urbane, higher class art doesn’t really have. This is a medium that literally anyone can take up.

  13. 1) I think that the most interesting bits of information abut siquieros’ mural are that he did it all in one night which must have been incredibly difficult (how can anyone paint that fast), the fact that he started the spray paint art trend and most importantly the incredible political statement he makes with the crucified native below an american eagle. This commented on both current affairs (the deportation of mexicans, and on a bigger scale the repression of culture and the hostile takeover of europeans in the 1500 and 1600s.

    3)He influence artists to express political movements with their work, and started the movement of using graffiti art instead of merely tagging. In addition, for political movements there is more of a statement if the piece is done illegally and disrupts the elite (who are usually the target of such movements) while also being more accessible to the populace which further spreads the movement.

  14. I Like the almost intentionally rebellious nature of Sequiros. It expresses disillusionment with american society and politics like much of the work of Rosenquist. Sequiros inspired an entire generation of new underground artists to make their art visible to the public.

  15. 1) I think it’s funny that Siqueiros was commissioned to paint “America Tropical” or something like that and he drew a death scene. He obviously wasn’t expected to actually do research into the political side of the thing he was supposed to draw.

    3) Siqueiros made the precedent of the use of spray paint for art so others could follow his example freely. He also promoted the idea of having a message in art and almost gave other artists permission to express their thoughts and beliefs through art. He was the first to do it and, though it wasn’t seen in the most positive light at first, he let other artists express their feelings, however unpopular, to the world.

  16. 1. I found it empowering how he was asked to paint an idealist version of “America Tropical” but instead portrayed it truthfully.

    4. Both works are large-scale and convey a message about social and political issues. Also, they have both been controversial by their subject matter, and neither is an idealistic portrayal.

  17. 2. The most important social and historical aspects to me is the message it gives about racism and conquest. They picture symbolizes all the natives who have died because European, and then whit American, colonist decided that they wanted the land, and I think it is important to preserve and remember this so it never happens again.
    3. This mural, and Siqueiros himself, inspired other artists to stand up for what they believe in, and to paint what they believe, and what is needed, not what other people want them to paint. He taught them to paint the truth, even if it was ugly, instead of an easy, pretty lie, no matter the consequences to themselves.

  18. 3. Siqueiros and this mural inspired other artists to make their works have very strong political and social messages about controversial topics, and to not be afraid of the consequences that this may have on them. For example, Siqueiros went to jail due to his activism, but that didn’t stop him from still dealing with controversial issues. The style of his artwork is also prevalent in murals today.

    4. Siqueiros’ mural and F-111 are definitely similar. They both have strong social messages about sensitive topics, which made them very controversial for their time. They are also both very large. However, while Rosenquist’s mural is more subtle, leaving more to the interpretation of the viewer, Siqueiros is more blatant in its symbolism. F-111 is also more disjunct than Siquerios’, which is more unified and easier to understand.

  19. 3. Siqueiros clearly inspired many rebels over multiple generations to speak out agains social injustice though the medium of art. Any graffiti artist such as banksy and Shepard fairy could trace their root back to the political activism and parody that exists in Siqueiros mural. In fact, Siqueiros mural would fit in nicely in a wall of “modern” street art. Thought the cause their fighting for changes, the medium and skill remains.
    4. F-111 is much more jumbled than Siqueiros mural. F-111 is much more messy and more of a modgepoge of different things. This is no fault. F-111 is a commentary on the overload of images and symbols we see every day. Its meant to flood the brain with many contrasting images and feelings. Siqueiros mural on the other hand is meant to convoy a simple message. Both are social commentaries on the world around the artist but their messages differ so their style differs.

  20. 1. I thought it was interesting that using spray paint was such a new and deferent idea at that time, as opposed to now when almost all graffiti is done with this medium. Siqueiros was able to use the spray paint to create smooth fades (like in the slave image) that create an unusual effect.
    4. Siqueiros’s work and F-111 are similar in that they both reflect issues during that time period. F-111 is even more inspired from other sources (magazines, ads). The image of the slave portrays the event very boldly, while F-111 has more subtly. Nevertheless you can still see that Siqueiros inspired Rosenquist to show the impact of the current events in his art.

  21. I’m responding to 3 and 4.

    3. I think Siqueirios inspired artists to create provocative art that has a strong political message. He encouraged other minorities and people of color to use the mural as a way to express their unique perspective and voice. I think murals are really special because they somehow feel a lot more accessible than paper or canvas. Theoretically, anyone can just go up to a wall and create something on it and that’s powerful.

    4. Rosenquist uses a lot more subtlety. I think it was his intention for the viewers to take the time to process his meaning behind the piece. I also think he intended for the viewers to develop their own interpretation. Siqueirios seems to have more clarity in the meaning behind his art as well as an urgency for the viewers to understand his meaning.

  22. 3. Instead of allowing yourself to be censured and live by the law, show the abominations of the government and country. Reform and change won’t happen unless people feel that they have the right to express their opinions and feel that these opinions will be heard. Murals seem to publicize the message, and colors make them eye catching.

    4. Rosenquist’s F-111 seemed to be showing everyday activities and items America was protecting by bombing Vietnam with this plane, being what much of the commonwealth believed the United States’ involvement in the war was accomplishing– defending capitalism from communism. It too was a criticism of a capitalist/imperialist country trying to impose its ideals and opinions onto a “third world country” that clearly didn’t ask for such. Thus, the first world imposes “freedom” and “amenities” by force, with vioklence and alienation.
    In Siqueiros’s mural, I see a criticism more of how the indigenous peoples of Mexico were once treated like second class citizens and persecuted, so that they’d succumb to European rule. If Rosenquist’s F-111 were instead depicting Native Americans being massacred, then the subject matter might be more related. Anyhow, I think both are criticizing a country that seems to act as if it were proud of its heritage and ideals, when they seem to sweep the violent ways they went about imposing their ideals under the rug.

  23. 1: What is most interesting to me about Siqueiros’ creation of the mural are the politics behind the commission of the piece. The woman who set up the project wanted the square to be, as the movie called it, “a quaint little ethnic theme park–” yet Siqueiros went completely in the opposite direction and created a piece of art that doesn’t skim on the surface of anything, that is raw and honest about the real issues at play. I think the irony of the situation lies in the parallel between imperialism and white domination in central and south american countries (the “Tropics”) and the way the elites of LA wanted to essentially colonize that square. The LA residents had a romanticized vision of tropical culture and wanted to pick and choose which parts of that ethnic heritage to include in their “theme park.” What Siqueiros did was simply show that you can’t split apart a culture like that.
    3: I think Siqueiros’ mural, more than anything, demonstrated that a city can be used as a canvas for revolutionary art. His use of spray paints certainly influenced the radical graffiti artists who came after him, such as Banksy. Using a mural to make a political statement was a brilliant stroke because murals are accessible to the entire public and cannot be ignored.

  24. 3) This mural and Siqueiros influenced other artists because of his radical social and political views which greatly influenced his art. His murals served as a demonstration of his political views especially his mural of the american bird the eagle and violent imagery. This radicalism in murals was a pretty new concept and it greatly influence the course of other artists lives encouraging them to go beyond society imposed limits.

    2)I thought something really interesting about his life and what added to his mural creations was the oppression he faced from his own government. The fact that he was jailed for no following the strict rules shows through his creations on Alvarado street. This street was supposed to be a picture perfect taste of a Mexican market. Calm and quaint was not the main message of Siqueiros’ murals which really just showed his passions even if that meant pushing the envelope to the breaking point. At this point is where art and every other profession stumble upon unforeseen discoveries.

  25. 1. It blows my dang mind that he could have done this in one night. That is just unreal. Also, his use of spray paint is interesting and I think there is a sort of a similarity between him and banksy.

    4. I see a definite similarity between F 111 and this. The statement it makes is different, but they both speak out against the “establishment”. The art form differs radically as well.

  26. 1.
    The most interesting part of this painting is how the white wash was done to preserve it. It preserved the paint, while the ideas the painting expressed washed away.
    Siqueiros inspired other artists to stand up for what they beleive, and showed them that they can do it through their art.

  27. 1. What is the most interesting aspect to you about the creation of this Siqueiros mural?
    I think it’s really cool that the act of trying to destroy the mural (the white wash) was eventually the best action they could have taken to preserve it. Also, I think it’s interesting that Siqueiros’s style influenced FDR in his creation of the Works Progress Administration.

    4. Do you see a connection with Rosenqist’s F-111? How do these works differ?
    To be totally honest, I see almost no resemblance between the two works except that they are both long and horizontal. Rosenqist’s is a pop-art, brightly-colored collection of images in American culture. America Tropical is an original mural with an obvious image, muted cool colors, and upsetting imagery.

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