THE ART OF THE PORTABLE MURAL

In 1931, famed artist Diego Rivera made a set of portable murals for a retrospective exhibition honoring his work at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The museum recently re-staged a Rivera exhibit, borrowing original murals from Mexico.

The portable approach was the artist’s solution for permitting a group of visitors to one museum to see some of his work that otherwise would have required a series of pilgrimages to the buildings where the permanent murals were fixed.

Rivera used a tried-and-true fresco approach to his murals, which proved to help the artwork hold up to the elements over the course of time. Because one of Rivera’s portable murals was already in MoMA’s collection, the museum’s conservators were better able to understand how the artist made his permanent murals portable.

By taking a series of x-radiograph images of the mural, the conservators discovered an elaborate, supportive skeleton on the inside of the panel. Iron mesh, stainless-steel rods and a firm outer frame combined to create a structure that prevented the mural from being twisted or torqued. Rivera then evidently poured a commercial concrete material mixed with plant fibers into the structure for even greater stability.

On top of that foundation, Rivera built up several layers of traditional fresco mortar, ultimately achieving a very smooth surface area. Then, while the last layer was still wet, the artist began to apply pigments, which were essentially fused to the surface through a chemical reaction.

While Rivera’s painstaking process allowed the murals to be portable, they were not easily transportable. The larger panels weighed in the neighborhood of a half-ton!

For the more recent MoMA exhibit, forklifts were required to move each mural onto a specially designed platform.

As impressive as all that is, it’s far from the easiest way to transfer a work of art from one place to another – even within your very own home! Contact Eazy Wallz today to find an affordable – and lightweight – solution to turning your home’s walls into works of art!