Pomona College is home to José Clemente Orozco’s 1930 Prometheus mural, which is recognized as one of the artist’s masterpieces. The first mural painted in the U.S. by one of Los Tres Grandes of Mexican muralism and a work that Jackson Pollock declared the greatest contemporary painting in North America, Orozco’s revolutionary work of art portrays Prometheus in the act of bringing fire to humanity.
Prometheus 1930/2017 is scheduled to open at Pomona College in September 2017 and will travel to el Museo Universitario del Chopo in Mexico City in 2018. A key part of the project is the accompanying bi-lingual publication, which will bring together critical research with extensive archival and interview material. For the Prometheus 1930/2017 project, the research team ... will explore the politics of Orozco's mural and its public mode of communication of social and political positions.
Orozco’s vision of Prometheus as an allegory for art that attempts to reach a wider audience—bringing knowledge and enlightenment to the masses—highlights his efforts to transform society. The exhibition, and accompanying publication, will examine where and how these traditions of communicative visual strategies married to political dialogue resonate with contemporary artists from Mexico who utilize strategies of activist art, public intervention, social practice, and engaged historical or archival research to connect with a broader public and advance or critique social and political causes. This exhibition will address the nuanced approaches to political causes, protest, subversion, and transforming society within some contemporary work in Mexico.
Exhibition overview from the museum website
Whether you go or not, Jose Clemente Orozco: Prometheus, explores the fresco that Jose Clemente Orozco painted in 1930 at Pomona College in Claremont, California, which was both the artist's first work in the United States and the first Mexican mural in this country. As such, the Prometheus is a landmark in the history of the Mexican mural movement and of the art of the 20th century. The four essays in this volume, written over a period of 43 years, bear testimony to the undimmed power of the Prometheus to intrigue, provoke, and inspire. Celebrating the college's acquisition of 17 preparatory drawings for the mural from the artist's family, the book is illustrated with Orozco's work and that of his contemporaries.