“Many people will like this basic way of presenting Diego Rivera, but others will inevitably feel the words of the artist as a sudden sting, like the hives produced by certain shellfish.” — author Alfredo Cardona Peña
“After he finished the first draft, he asked me to read it and look for typos and stuff like that,” Barbara Cardona-Hine said. “I found three paragraphs in the whole book where I said to Alvaro, ‘These don’t make any sense at all in English.’ At first, he resisted. He said, ‘That’s how Diego talks. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what he was saying.’ But when I knew it was going to be published, I went through it again and saw that he had corrected all three because I never ran into them again. Those who know both languages have said that his translation is elegant.”
The author divides the interviews into chapters, with each set of questions and responses following particular themes that draw on Rivera’s long engagement with Mexican history, politics, and art. In deference to Rivera, Cardona Peña’s questions are often terse and succinct, and he gives the artist plenty of space to expound, proselytize, educate, and enlighten. Along with Rivera’s perspectives are his recountings of personal experience. This makes the book an indispensable volume for those seeking to understand the prolific artist.
Rivera had a contentious relationship with the press because of his controversial views. He was a