Two dates: October 20 and 27, 2012
9:00 am–1:00 pm

Tour starts and ends at América Tropical Interpretive Center
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
125 Paseo de la Plaza, entrance on Olvera Street

$20, $10 students

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In 1932, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974), one of the great Mexican artists of the twentieth century, was commissioned to paint an idealized tropical scene on a second story exterior wall on Olvera Street in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Siqueiros instead created América Tropical, a monumental mural depicting an overgrown jungle with a crucified Indian peasant surmounted by an American eagle, at which revolutionary soldiers aim their rifles. This controversial imagery led immediately to partial whitewashing of the work, and within a decade, the entire mural was covered. For the next twenty years, it remained under layers of white paint, neglected and all but forgotten.

With the rise of the Chicano mural movement in the 1960s, there was renewed interest in América Tropical. Its political message and artistic innovations made it a touchstone for a younger generation of artists in Los Angeles who recognized Siqueiros as one of the great political artists of his time.

On this tour of Eastside Los Angeles murals, led by Los Angeles artist Raoul de la Sota, you will explore the work of artists who were inspired by the powerful messages and imagery in Siqueiros’s work to create their own murals. Many of these artworks incorporated similar social and political messages, which resonated with this new generation of artists.

Corrido de Boyle Heights/ D. Botello

Raoul de la Sota earned his master of arts degree from UCLA. Soon after graduation, he received the first Fulbright Fellowship ever awarded to a Chicano artist, and spent a year of study in Peru. De la Sota has shown his work in solo exhibits at the Museum of Man in San Diego; in Mexico at galleries in Oaxaca, Morelia, and Valle de Bravo; and in numerous galleries and exhibitions spaces in Los Angeles, including SPARC Gallery in Venice, the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of Los Angeles chose him to create a three-story mural for its new Metro Terminal in El Monte. De la Sota was also awarded an Arts America Grant for a series of lectures in Colombia on Chicano Art. His work can be seen in the two-volume book Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art, published by the Arizona State University Press. He is a professor emeritus of Mexican American History at Los Angeles City College.

This tour was organized for the Getty Conservation Institute by Community Arts Resources (CARS).

Find out more about the Getty Conservation Institute project to study, conserve, protect, and present América Tropical, a mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros.