Art: Mexican Winter

The doctrine of "art for art's sake" has had rough sledding in Mexico. With Mexicans, it has been religious or social art that counts. Confectioners mold candy into shapes of skulls and flowers for feast-day celebrations. Muralists line public buildings with vehement histories of oppression and revolution. For the rest, nudes, still lifes, etc. were considered mere frilly decoration. In 1922 Mexico's Syndicate of Technical Workers, Painters & Sculptors put the Mexican doctrine in writing, publicly repudiated "art for art's sake," and pledged themselves to paint murals "for the people." Among signers were Mexico's big three: Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros. Backed...