San Francisco Art Institute

San Francisco Art Institute They had already been to the San Francisco Art Institute, open daily and free, to see Rivera's "The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City." (Completed in May 1931, the work is a sort of great big pun -- a 23-by-30-foot mural of a mural in progress, complete with a self-portrait of Rivera from behind, wide bottom and all, perched dead center on a scaffolding board.) The Espinozas also had been to Rivera's last and largest mural in the city, which happens to bring our tour full circle. It was born beneath the Bay Bridge, on Treasure Island, during that Golden Gate International Expo. But don't start for the island yet. Beginning in July 1940, Rivera and his helpers painted on a vast 10-panel wall, 22 feet high and 74 feet wide, while visitors watched. The mural, titled "Pan American Unity," is dominated by a goddess who is part Native American and part machine, with a supporting cast of dozens. Frida Kahlo is there, as is Stalin, depicted as a totalitarian villain along with Mussolini and Hitler. Pictured: Diego Rivera's mural "The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City"
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