When we held our PSFK SALON in Detroit last year we decided to hold it at the Detroit Institute of Art. When we were there we saw for the first time the spectacular mural the museum has by Diego Rivera. It covers the four walls of a room and the Mexican artist thought of the work as the best he ever did. It is an amazing piece of work commissioned during the rise of the auto-industry that the city should be proud of and the visit is worth the airfare alone.
That said, when Chrysler featured the work in their ad about their cars during the 45th SuperBowl, they may have wanted to do some more research about the art. The work actually rallies against the tyranny of the car factories, protests at the soul destroying assembly lines and vilifies its commissioner, Henry Ford. In one scene, Ford is seen lecturing managers about a dog-like combustion engine as rows of faceless workers repeat their task over and over.
We were told by staff at the museum that after Rivera spent almost a year on the work (including time on the factory floor), the car industry wanted to destroy the work – in the same way Rivera’s work was destroyed in New York.
In the Chrysler ad, which features Eminem and wants to show a proud revitalized Detroit, seems to have forgotten the work’s undertone as a voiceover rewrites history with this statement:
“… add hard work and conviction that runs deep in every last one of us.”
Here are some photos that we took while we were there: