Mary K. Coffey is an Associate Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College. She is affiliated with the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies Program and the Womens, Gender, and Sexuality Program. She teaches courses on modern art in the United States, Mexico, and Latin America. Her primary area of research is Mexican moralism and the politics of exhibition. Her book, "How a Revolutionary Art Became Official Culture: Murals, Museums, and the Mexican State" (Duke 2012) won the College Art Association's Charles Rufus Morey Prize for distinguished book in Art History in 2012. She is currently completing a monograph of Orozco's Epic of American Civilization.
I will compare Walter B. Humphrey's "Hovey Mural" with Jose Clemente Orozco's "Epic of American Civilization." Both murals are located at Dartmouth College and were painted in the 1930s, but there the similarities end. Humphrey's mural was conceived of as a response to Orozco's mural, an attempt to "green" what he viewed as a foreigner's perception of Dartmouth College and the United States. I will discuss Orozco's mural in terms of its medium, style, iconographic program, and orientation toward its presumed audience. I will survey the controversy over the mural, in which Humphrey played a large part. And I will discuss his response, commenting on the "Hovey Murals" medium, style, iconographic program, and assumptions about audience.