¿Dónde están los judíos en la “vida americana?”: Art, politics, and identity on exhibit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945, an exhibition that opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in February, 2020, proposed to remake art history by demonstrating the profound impact Mexican painters had on their counterparts in the United States, inspiring American artists “to use their art to protest economic, social, and racial injustices.” An unexamined part of this chapter of art history concerns the role of radical Jews, who constitute almost one half of the American artists whose work appears in the exhibition. Rooted in a distinct experience, as either immigrants or their American-born children, these Jewish artists had been making politically charged artworks well before the Mexican muralists' arrival in the United States. Considering the role of left-wing Jews in this period of art-making would complicate the curatorial thesis of Vida Americana. Moreover, the exhibition's lack of attention to Jews in creating and promoting this body of work raises questions about how the present cultural politics of race may have informed the analysis of this chapter of art history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • History
  • Religious studies


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