Wednesday, June 17 | 6:30–7:30 pm | Zoom | Click here to register
Created in a year-long partnership with Artes de México en Utah, the UMFA presents a unique series of classes designed to explore Mexican history through art. The series consists of three sessions in June, July, and August, each with a unique artistic focus. Taught by Susan Vogel and Renato Olmedo-Gonzalez, the first lesson will be centered around Utah-born art activist Pablo O’Higgins.
Pablo O’Higgins (1904-83) was actually born under the name Paul Higgins in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1904. His family had migrated westward for the opportunities offered by the expansion known as Manifest Destiny. O’Higgins attended Salt Lake City public schools including East High School, where he was influenced by his teacher LeConte Stewart. In 1924, he traveled to Mexico City to see the murals Diego Rivera was painting. O’Higgins became an assistant to Rivera, working with him on several of his most famous mural projects before becoming a muralist in his own right. He co-founded Mexico’s most important printmaking studio, the Taller de Grafica Popular. Today, Mexico considers him one of the most important muralists of its “second generation” of mural painters. O’Higgins became a Mexican citizen in 1961.
Susan Vogel is a freelance writer, journalist and attorney. She holds a B.A. in English from San Francisco State University and a J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. During college she studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México City. In 1990, she received a grant from Utah Humanities to research Utah-born Mexican muralist Pablo O’Higgins (nee Paul Higgins). It resulted in the first English language biography about the artist, Becoming Pablo O’Higgins (2010). In 2010, after seeing the UMFA’s exhibit Artes de México and assisting with its companion exhibit about O’Higgins, Susan, along with Tina Misrachi Martin, daughter of Diego Rivera’s art dealer, Alberto Misrachi, and architect Bernardo Flores-Sahagún co-founded the nonprofit Artes de México en Utah in the UMFA café.
A proud queer Mexican immigrant, Renato Olmedo-González serves as manager of annual giving at the UMFA. He began his career in the arts with Artes de México en Utah while an undergraduate at the U, where he double majored in art history and Latin American studies. Before joining the UMFA, Renato led the community affairs section of the Consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City.