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Rivera, Ford, and the Work of the Archive

  • Slought 4017 Walnut Street, 19104 (map)

Slought is pleased to announce a screening of Detroit's Rivera: The Labor of Public Art (2017), a short film by Julio Ramos. It will be followed by a conversation with Ramos and Professor Anna Indych-López (CUNY), followed by a reception. This program is co-presented with Cinema & Media Studies and Hispanic and Portuguese Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, with support from Latin American and Latino Studies, History of Art and Visual Studies, and the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory.

Ramos' Detroit's Rivera is an experimental film depicting the making of the frescoes painted by Diego Rivera at the Ford Motor Company in the city of Detroit between 1932 and 1933. Based on film archival materials and animations, the documentary explores the links between industrial labor, public art, and social struggles during the agitated years of the Great Depression in the US.

The screening and conversation will reflect on the role of labor in art and on art as a form of labor, particularly in regards to the representation of industrial labor and mass production in public art and the early years of cinema. At issue is the relationship between the assembly line, mural painting, and archival montage in the context of Fordism and 20th century industrial modernity, which Ramos' film explores by using images from Ford Company Moving Picture Division archives of Rivera's painting process as well as the United Auto-Workers Union Audiovisual Division, among others. In addition, the event seeks to understand the significance of the revolutionary language of Mexican muralism in the United States during a period of economic, political, and cultural turmoil in which Mexican muralists reconsidered their artistic strategies in order to reach international audiences.

This event is free and open to public / For more information, please visit: