Lucas Museum Adds Diego Rivera, Paul Cadmus, Yinka Shonibare
|Diego Rivera, Opponent of Nazism, 1933. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art|
Despite being thwarted in a hail-Mary bid to buy Rivera's Making of a Fresco from the San Francisco Art Institute, the Lucas succeeded in acquiring one panel of another prime 1930s mural. Opponent of Nazism is one of 21 panels (8 surviving) of the Portrait of America mural made for New York's New Workers School. It followed Rivera's ill-fated mural commission for Rockefeller Center, destroyed by the Rockefeller family after the artist included a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. Perhaps in reaction, Rivera made the New Workers School mural portable, composed of distinct panels. The panels have been scattered around the world, the largest in Nagoya, Japan. The Lucas panel, about 34 inches square, presents a Communist worker as an opponent of the Nazis.
|Charles White, Presentation Study for Mary McLeod Bethune Mural, 1977-1978|
|Paul Cadmus, The Haircut, 1986|
|Criselda Vasquez, The New American Gothic, 2017|
Criselda Vasquez' The New American Gothic transcends the jokey premise (which kind of rhymes with another recent acquisition, actually). The subjects are the artists' hard-working parents. New American Gothic was a viral hit on Instagram, leapfrogging the art market as gatekeeper.
|Kadir Nelson, Art Connoisseurs, 2019|
|Yinka Shonibare MBE, Crash Willy, 2009|
|Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Byo'utchi Sunritsu (Sun Li), 1827-1830|
|Jack Kirby (pencil) and Frank Giacoia (ink), Black Panther cover, 1977|
|Carl Spitzweg, Der Hexenmeister, 1875-1880.|
As I wrote in 2018, the Lucas is buying legitimacy with a core of "serious" art, and there's nothing wrong with that. At the same time it seemingly can't not collect dreck, sometimes paying high prices for it. Meanwhile it is assembling a collection of popular art forms (comics, magazine cover art, murals, movie concept art, etc.) that rarely gets its due anywhere else. This phase of the collection, more serious than its objects may pretend to be, is likely to be the Lucas' most significant contribution to L.A. and world culture.
More on the Lucas Museum's updated site.