Ten years after his first stay, Diego Rivera (1886-1957) returned to San Francisco in June 1940 to headline the main fine arts exhibition of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. Working on a scaffold in an airplane hangar before a live audience, Rivera painted The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on This Continent, commonly known as Pan American Unity, his last mural in the U.S. The fresco depicts in colorful detail a past, present, and future that the artist believed were shared across North America, calling for cultural solidarity and exchange during a time of global conflict. Completed with support from local artists and assistants, with scenes of the Bay Area as a backdrop, the mural celebrates the creative spirit through portraits of artists, artisans, architects, and inventors who use art and technology as tools to shape society.
After the fair, Pan American Unity — measuring twenty-two by seventy-four feet and weighing over sixty thousand pounds — was moved to the campus of City College of San Francisco (CCSF). This was possible because Rivera painted this fresco not on a wall, but on ten steel-framed cement panels. More than half a century later, an international team of experts has spent years planning another move. In partnership with CCSF, SFMOMA presents Rivera’s Pan American Unity in the museum’s free-to-the-public Roberts Family Gallery on Floor 1. On view until March 2024, the mural will then return to CCSF to be installed in a new performing arts center.
Presenting support for Pan American Unity is provided by the Koret Foundation, Helen and Charles Schwab, Pat Wilson, and anonymous donor.
Major support is provided by Doris Fisher, Randi and Bob Fisher, the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom, Diana Nelson and John Atwater, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and Sandy Robertson.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and catalogue do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Major public program support for Pan American Unity is provided by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.
Generous support is provided by Breyer Family Foundation, Katherine Harbin Clammer and Adam Clammer, Roberta and Steve Denning, Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Jessica and Matt Farron, Linda and Jon Gruber, Deborah and Kenneth Novack, Nancy and Alan Schatzberg, Lydia Shorenstein, John and Ali Walecka, and Margaret V. B. Wurtele.
Additional support is provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation and Susan Swig.
Generous support for the catalogue is provided by Mary Leonard Robinson.
Research and planning support is provided in part by the Koret Foundation.
Funding for the conservation of Pan American Unity was generously provided through a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.
This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
SFMOMA is grateful to the following sponsors who have lent their support to the overall project of Diego Rivera’s America, including the presentation of Pan American Unity.
The presenting sponsors are Bank of America, the Neal Benezra Exhibition Fund, the Davidow Family Fund for Exhibitions of Modern Art, the Evelyn D. Haas Exhibition Fund, Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan, Helen and Charles Schwab, and anonymous donor.
Major support is provided by Doris Fisher, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, the Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich Family Foundation, Diana Nelson and John Atwater, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and Sandy Robertson.
Major public program support Diego Rivera’s America is provided by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.
Major in-kind support provided by BARTable and Modern Luxury.
Additional in-kind support is provided by Cumulus Media.
SFMOMA is grateful to the Mexican Government’s Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL) for their collaboration on this exhibition.