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realism in the United States.13  They were also particularly subject to attack as "communists," "pernicious foreigners," "un-American," as well as destruction of their murals for controversial content. Rivera's Rockefeller Center mural in New York was covered and destroyed before completion and his murals in the Detroit Institute of Arts were threatened. Rivera and Orozco murals in New York became an embarrassment in the Truman and McCarthy eras and were covered for many years or removed to other locations. One of Siqueiros' Los Angeles murals was whitewashed two years after completion.14  Nevertheless, not the least part of the Mexicans' influence on radically-inclined artists was their concern with working class subject matter. All three, in these years, included Mexican and Indian imagery in their murals. Orozco at the New School for Social Research in New York pictured assassinated Yucatecan governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto surrounded by Maya peasants. His mural was later covered for the inclusion of Lenin and Stalin in various panels. His Dartmouth College murals included a Mexican peasant revolutionary and a reclining construction worker reading a book. Siqueiros' whitewashed mural had as a central theme the crucifixion of an American Indian by U.S. imperialism; in another mural he painted assassinated Mexican industrial workers. Rivera's Detroit murals showed the multi-racial workers in Ford's River Rouge automobile plant which certainly included Mexican American workers.

Given the relative absence of Mexican and Mexican American working class motifs in U.S. fine arts prior to the late 1960s, I propose to examine primarily those few examples of New Deal paintings that show Mexicans at work, and then focus on the history of Mexican labor in the United States as seen in the work of Chicano artists. Since the U.S.-Mexican border has always been a fluid one across which people, information, and ideologies flowed, it is also pertinent to connect Mexican American labor history with that of Mexico itself. Thus murals and prints by artists from Mexico concerning labor events in the 20th century will also be considered.
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