365 Days of Art: April 24 – Art and Politics Collide for Diego Rivera and Little Mermaid

Diego Rivera poses next to small artwork

Diego poses next to copy of the Rockefeller Center mural, which was ultimately destroyed.

Two instances of politics colliding with art today:

April 24, 1933

With Diego Rivera’s mural for Rockefeller Center two thirds of the way finished, the NY World-Telegram inflames tensions between the artist and patron by publishing this headline:

“Rivera Paints Scenes of Communist Activity and John D. Jr. Foots Bill”

Little Mermiad, Edvard Eriksen, Copenhagen

Then:

April 24, 1964

Oh no, it’s The Little Mermaid getting injured again! Her head is sawn off and stolen in a political act by artists of the Situationist movement. The group is primarily composed of artists and serves as a standing critique of capitalism. The head is never recovered; a new head is later fabricated and placed on the statue.