Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros began the mural era in Los Angeles in 1932 with his painting of América Tropical on the south façade of the second story of the Italian Hall in El Pueblo. The mural depicts a native crucified on a double cross, with what the artist called an “American imperialist eagle” stretching out its talons above him. Siqueiros stated that the mural represented “the destruction of past American national cultures . . . by the invaders of both yesterday and today.” The mural was quickly whitewashed — which as it turned out help preserve the mural.
Now conserved through a public-private partnership between the City of Los Angeles and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), the mural is set to open to the public on October 9, 2012. The mural will be protected by a canopy with sun shades from direct sun exposure and rain. A rooftop platform will allow public viewing.
Tim Whalen, director of the Getty Conservation Institute, said, “Providing public access to América Tropical has been central to this project. From the Getty Conservation Institute’s initial involvement in 1988, it has been a persistent advocate for the conservation of the mural, and the construction of the shelter, and a public viewing platform. We are so pleased to bring América Tropical back to the people of Los Angeles.”