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Arts & Culture

American Masters: Orozco: Man Of Fire

Black and white photo of Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco at work painting.
Paradigm Productions/ ITVS
Black and white photo of Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco at work painting.

Airs Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Often thought of as the other Mexican muralist, beside his more flamboyant compatriot Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco was a leader of the Mexican Renaissance. His bold, dynamic frescoes had a profound impact on American painters and inspired Franklin D. Roosevelt to put artists to work during the Great Depression.

His most famous U.S. murals — "The Table of Universal Brotherhood," "The Epic of American Civilization and Prometheus" — still convey their power in New York, New Hampshire and California. An iconoclastic personality, Orozco survived the loss of his left hand and destruction of more than half his early work by border agents. His travels back and forth across the U.S. - Mexico border evoke the larger Mexican migrant-immigrant experience and have provocative parallels to present times.

In "Orozco: Man Of Fire," directors Laurie Coyle and Rick Tejada-Flores create a visually arresting and whimsical documentary portrait of Orozco (1883-1949), whose dramatic life, iconoclastic personality and dynamic painting changed the way we see art and politics. Shot in widescreen High Definition video on location in Mexico and the United States. Narrated by Anjelica Huston, with award winning Mexican actor Damián Alcázar as the voice of Orozco.


View a timeline of Orozco's career and a photo gallery of his paintings.