DETROIT – Left-wing frescoes notched another major win on Tuesday as voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County overwhelmingly approved renewing a property tax for the Detroit Institute of Arts, including its famed Diego Rivera murals.
Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” murals (1932-33) depict the interior of the Ford River Rouge plant. They illustrate what Rivera perceived, from a Marxist perspective, as the promise and the peril of industrial civilization, including its dual capacity to alternately enrich or destroy human livelihoods.
“The glory of this night is not mine,” Rivera’s overall-wearing, two-dimensional form announced from the west wall of the mural court after the election was called Tuesday. “It belongs to the international working class,” he said, raising a hammer in solidarity with the global proletariat.
As of this writing, the doctors in the upper right panel of the mural’s north wall were assuring other characters in the mural that the COVID-19 virus posed a minimal risk to painted representations of human figures.
They pointed to the Latin phrase carved into the stone above the entrance to the Rivera Court: “Vita Brevis, Longa Ars,” or “life is short, art is long.”