In 1931 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City organized a retrospective exhibition of Rivera’s work, for which the painter executed seven portable panels, including Frozen Assets. On it, Rivera represented life in New York during the Great Depression, which followed the economic crisis in 1929.
The mural is divided into three sections. Great skyscrapers are at the top, as a symbol of the economic development of the United States, supported by the working class, that appears below in the subway trains, going to work or returning home. In the middle, a refuge for the unemployed homeless seems to be full of corpses rather than persons sleeping. This is watched over by a guard who could well be the same one as in the bottom section, that shows a bank vault on which some members of the wealthier classes from the US are seen safeguarding their valuables or waiting their turn to do so. It was not Rivera himself who gave the name Frozen Assets to the work, but a journalist who covered the exhibition.