The Corner

Lenin’s Little Problem

Kathryn, that rather entertaining diagnosis has been around for quite a while now, and not the least of its ironies relates to the infamous mural for the Rockefeller Center commissioned by Nelson A. Rockefeller from the Mexican painter, Diego Rivera back in 1932. Rivera was always an odd choice for the job. The Center was supposedly dedicated to capitalist progress, and Rivera had been a communist (he was expelled from the Mexican party in 1929, probably over his support for Trotsky, but after several applications was later readmitted). Amongst the highlights of this mural were portraits of society ladies partying beneath TB, syphilis and gonorrhoea cells. Lenin was also shown, but, inaccurately, without syphilis cells. Instead the Soviet dictator was portrayed grasping the hands of some workers. Hopefully, they sprayed him with disinfectant first.

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