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Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Edsel Ford

Two Communists and a Titan of Capitalism Confront the Realities of the Modern Industrial Workplace and Make Great Art

A Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning Partnership Program
In 1932, Diego Rivera and his wife, Frida Kahlo, both Mexican artists and committed communists, traveled to Detroit at the invitation of the Detroit Institute of Arts, so that Rivera could paint murals on the walls of the museum’s great atrium. The commission was funded by Edsel Ford, president of the Ford Motor Company and son of Henry Ford. The unlikely partnership of the artists and Ford ultimately produced the Detroit Industry Murals—one of the great works of art in America. How did the personal histories of Rivera, Kahlo, and Ford intersect? How were the colossal murals produced? What happened to Rivera, Kahlo, and Ford after the project was completed, and what was the social and artistic impact of the murals? Richard Voigt, a frequent lecturer on history and the workplace, shares insights.
Richard Voigt graduated from Wesleyan University and the University of Virginia Law School. He served in the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, before entering private practice in Connecticut, focusing on labor, employment, and other issues of the workplace. He is a partner in the firm of McCarter & English, LLC, and has often been recognized for his work, including in Best Lawyers in America. He lectures on American history, with a particular emphasis on the American workplace. 
The Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning was chartered by Wesleyan University in 2009 to provide educational opportunities to members of the community outside of formal degree-granting programs. The Institute’s objective is to employ the talents of retired and current members of the Wesleyan faculty, plus a few others who are similarly qualified, to present a series of short, intellectually stimulating, and lively courses to area residents.

For questions about Essex Meadows and Arts & Exploration 2018, please email Amanda Reynolds: reynoldsa@essexmeadows.com or call (860) 767-4578 extension 5220. Space for each event is limited, so please register early. To receive email reminders about these and other events at Essex Meadows, be sure to provide your email address when you register.


September 13
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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