20 June 2012

Woke Up But I'm Still Dreaming : Visions of Juan O'Gorman

Self-Portrait (1950) by Mexican muralist and architect Juan O'Gorman.  He is known for designing Casa Azul (The Blue House) for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.


Mosaic mural on the exterior of the UNAM Library in Mexico City by O'Gorman in 1953.  The stone details decorate all four façades of the structure, depicting aspects of Aztec culture and the creation of modern Mexico.


O’Gorman’s own house outside Mexico City (1953–56, demolished 1969) was considered his most extraordinary work. It was in part a natural cave and was designed to harmonize with the lava formations of the landscape.

Decorated with mosaic symbols and images from Aztec mythology, it marked his eventual rejection of Functionalism in favor of an approach that united modern structural designs with indigenous Mexican decorative motifs.

In 1958, Juan O'Gorman was photographed by pioneering architectural historian Esther McCoy on his visit to the Watts Towers in Los Angeles.  McCoy promoted the work of O'Gorman in California, organizing a solo exhibition for him in 1958 at the Long Beach Museum of Art.