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.
José María Podestá, the writer, art critic, and movie buff, reviews the artists who were part of the Primer Salón Independiente de Artes Plásticas that took place in August 1937 at the Ateneo de Montevideo. This event was, in fact, represented an alternative to the Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes which was organized at the same time by the Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes, an agency of the Ministerio de Instrucción Pública, under the dictatorship of Gabriel Terra (1933-39).
José María Podestá—writing in the magazine Ensayos (which first appeared in 1936 under the direction of the writer Eugenio Petit Muñoz)—helped to emphasize the political dimension of the Salón Independiente that was held the previous year. Above all, he underscored the ethical approach adopted by the artists who participated in the Salón: a moral stance, in the final analysis, that was based on the “Romantic” idea of the artist who sacrificed any chance of financial remuneration in order to protect the integrity of art as a sphere of unselfish knowledge that had nothing to do with the government’s internal revenue. At a moment in history that was deeply marked by the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and the impending outbreak of the Second World War, many artists saw the creation of an autonomous field as a way to give their art political meaning.