Megan Flattley, M.A.
Tulane University New Orleans (october 2021)
PhD project : Out of the Fragments, New Worlds: Perspective and Spatiality in the Work of Diego Rivera, 1913 1933
Megan R. Flattley is a PhD candidate in Art History and Latin American Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, USA. Her research centers on murals, the intersection of art with social and political movements, as well as community-engaged research and curatorial methodologies. Her dissertation research analyzes the work of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and his engagement with alternative perspectival systems and connections to an international circle of artists working for revolutionary change in the early twentieth century. Megan is currently a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award Fellow and will be living in Mexico City in 2022 to complete her dissertation research.
Out of the Fragments, New Worlds: Perspective and Spatiality in the Work of Diego Rivera, 1913-1933
This dissertation analyzes depictions of space in the murals of Mexican artist Diego Rivera, focusing on the first half of his career, approximately 1913-1933. The project reconstructs the network of relations and discourse between Rivera and other artists that engaged with modernist theories of pictorial space. After cubism’s rejection of one-point perspective and the revolutionary artist’s rejection of easel painting, Rivera’s murals represent an experimentation in perspective spread across three-dimensional, architectonic space. This project considers Rivera’s study of early Renaissance frescoes in Italy, Cubist paintings in Paris, montage in Soviet Russia, and Pre-Columbian manuscripts and reliefs in Mexico, in his efforts to reshape public space in the politically-fraught contexts of post-Revolutionary Mexico and the Depression-era United States. As the first modernist movement to deal with public space in a sustained way, Mexican muralism has been treated as revolutionary in its subject matter and its relationship to the state. This dissertation further takes seriously the formal innovations of Mexican muralism and, by situating Rivera within a global context, contributes to the ongoing mapping of the systems and networks of association that elucidate the international character of the greater modernist project.