Mexican Volcano

Visitors to Mexico City's National Bellas Artes gallery last week saw a mountain of modern Mexican painting. Except for the work of one artist, the mountain was close to being an extinct volcano. But inextinguishable firebrand David Alfaro Siqueiros had summoned up enough live steam and hot lava to make plenty of activity.

The show was sponsored by Mexico's culture-conscious President Manuel Avila Camacho, who last year decreed an annual national prize for arts and sciences. (1945's prize went to an author, rotund little Dr. Alfonso Reyes, for his Criticism in the Athenian...