These intimate Sunday dialogues with what is surely the most influential Mexican artist of the twentieth century show us the free-flowing mind of a man who was a legend in his own time; an artist who escaped being lynched on more than one occasion, a painter so controversial that his public murals inspired movements, or, like the work commissioned by John D. Rockefeller, were ordered torn down. Here in his San Angelín studio, we hear Rivera's feelings about the elitist aspect of paintings in museums, his motivations to create public art for the people, and his memorable, unedited expositions on the art, culture, and politics of Mexico.
A series of Alfredo Cardona-Peña's weekly interviews with Rivera were published in 1949 and 1950 in the Mexican newspaper, El Nacional, for which Alfredo was a journalist. His book of compiled interviews with introduction and preface, El Monstruo en su Laberinto, was published in Spanish in 1965. Finally, this extraordinary and rare exchange has been translated for the first time into English by Alfredo's half-brother Alvaro Cardona Hine, also a poet. According to the translator's wife, Barbara Cardona-Hine, bringing the work into English was a labor of love for Alvaro, the fulfillment of a promise made to his brother in 1971 that he did not get to until the year before his own death in 2016.
Alfredo Cardona Peña was a poet, narrator, essayist, journalist, and science fiction writer from Costa Rica, considered one of the greatest Latin American authors of the 20th century. He lived in Mexico from 1939 until his death in 1995, and became a widely-read columnist in Mexico’s Rotary Mexican News, which gave him access to key figures of the artistic and intellectual scene of Mexico’s capital. His fearsome Chronicles column earned him reputation as an analyst of the cultural times, and his weekly interviews with the controversial muralist Diego Rivera, from which The Monster in His Labyrinth derives, became an overwhelming success.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1/ At the Foot of the Fountain page 22
2/ The Aesthetics of the Valley page 40
3/ Popular Art page 48
4/ The Pre-Hispanic Businesspage page 60
5/ Critique and Critics page 81
6/ Mexican Painting page 99
7/ Rivera in Action page 123