Directed by Jonn Herschend
Produced by The Other Thing
Filmed by Tavon Bolourchi
Original music by Silas Hite
Alejandro Almanza Pereda
Change the world or go home
June 20–December 12 | Diego Rivera Gallery
Everything but the kitchen sank
July 28–October 3 | Walter and McBean Galleries
We have been looking at Diego Rivera’s ass for 84 years. Of course, this was the artist’s intention. Rivera’s iconic work The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City offers an epic image of the reconstruction of San Francisco, depicting laborers and fresco painters alongside the patron, on the scaffold, and closest to our eye: the artist’s high-waisted rear.
For Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Rivera is a catalyst for the ongoing instrumentalization of Latin American identity and artistic practice. The curious history of Rivera’s SFAI fresco and its magnetism for tourists has long spurred interventions by artists. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, it was curtained off, and a provisional wall was constructed to obscure—it’s not known exactly what—yet it was perhaps a moment in which the tyrannies of McCarthyism and Abstract Expressionism entwined.
More recently, a toothpaste hammer and sickle was applied, Rigo 90 offered his own rebuttal, and Banana Republic supported the fresco’s restoration. From Almanza’s perspective, if Rivera is a limiting screen through which we understand Latin American art, this is an opportunity to add a new screen. Almanza’s scaffold of fluorescent fixtures doubles the structure of the fresco, shifts Rivera to the middle ground, and troubles the light sensor of the tourist’s camera. Beyond this light frame, another narrative of historical imbalance, artistic legacy, and the imperious Rivera achieves focus.
Everything but the kitchen sank is organized by San Francisco Art Institute and curated by Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs.
Diego Rivera’s The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City was commissioned in 1930 by William Gerstle and the San Francisco Art Association. The commission provided Rivera—already well known as a leader of the Mexican mural movement—with his first opportunity to visit the United States.
The San Francisco Art Institute gratefully acknowledges the generosity of donors currently funding conservation of the Diego Rivera mural: The Getty Grant Program and Banana Republic.
The Diego Rivera Gallery presents weekly SFAI student-artist exhibitions.
Almanza is the 2015 recipient of The Harker Award for Interdisciplinary Studies, which supports artists-in-residence at San Francisco Art Institute. The Harker Award was established through a generous bequest by artist and SFAI faculty member Ann Chamberlain and is administered by the San Francisco Foundation. The works for Everything but the kitchen sank were produced during Almanza’s 2015 residency at SFAI.
More info: sfai.edu/alejandroalmanza