The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This document is a short handwritten entry from the journal of Carlos Almaraz. He begins with a discussion of how his art should be a product of daily practice. He then comments that his aim is to achieve a sense of poetry in his work but at a visual level. He praises the poetry of G. Stein [probably Gertrude Stein] and compares its form to Cubist paintings. He would like to see the musical order he sees in Stein’s poems resonate in abstract art. Though not advocating the transformation of one into the other, he calls for utilizing a “sense of music” within the visual arts. He provides examples from filmmaking to show how the visual arts can be made more universal (like music and cinema). Almaraz concludes that modern abstract art lacks a “central idea,” yet acknowledges that Jackson Pollock’s paintings still disturb him with their intrinsic “truth.”
Even though Carlos Almaraz (1941–1989) was never a widely published author, he was a dedicated journal writer. This short notebook entry was made in 1966, while he was still living in New York. Written in a style of stream of consciousness, it reflects his disillusionment with the abstract art scene in New York and his attempts to craft his own intellectual framework for achieving a universal art. Almaraz was one of the founding members of Los Four, an artist collective that also included Beto de la Rocha, Judithe Hernandez, Frank Romero, and Gilbert Lujan (Magu). They were one of the most influential groups within Chicano art history and the first to have an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 1974. In the 1980s, Almaraz was able to attain mainstream recognition and gallery success, which continued beyond his death.