Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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    Synopsis

    In this September 15, 1927 issue of Revista de avance, the “Guidelines” section includes three brief articles. The first reports the decision of the judicial authorities regarding the accusations of political conspiracy lodged against two of the journal editors, Martí Casanovas and José Z. Tallet. Although they were declared not guilty of participation in “the Communist cause,” the foreigners involved in the case were deported from Cuba. That was why the Catalan journalist and art critic Martí Casanovas would have to leave the journal and the Cuban journalist and writer Félix Lizaso would be taking his place.

     

    The next article is a response to an article entitled, “Madrid, intellectual meridian of Latin America” in the Madrid-based journal La Gaceta Literaria. The Revista de avance editors express their dissatisfaction with the opinions stated there. The article states that declaring Madrid to be a “meridian” or intellectual center of the Latin American world reflects a paternalistic and colonialist perspective, which the editors discredit and consider archaic. Published by a group of Spanish intellectuals, the article questioned the trend among Latin American intellectuals to regard Paris as the intellectual center of the Spanish-speaking world, instead of Madrid. In the original article, which appeared in La Gaceta Literaria on April 15, 1927, the writer asks: “Which is better, what would a young Latin American spirit prefer? To fall under the spell of a facile attraction to France—which voids and neutralizes his best native qualities, leaving him at the margin of authentic national life—or to identify with the vital atmosphere in Spain, which does not humiliate and void his personality, rather praises it and promotes his best creations?” The avance editors reject the very idea that there must be some central or reference point for Latin American intellectuals for either historic or linguistic reasons. To them, the work of the intellectual is primarily related to sensibilities and ideas. They therefore conclude that “meridians, even intellectual ones, cannot be imposed: they just happen through intellectual affinity.”  

     

    The last article attempts to clarify the comments made by the editors in the prior issue of Revista de avance about a lecture given by Blas Cabrera as part of the educational work of the Institución Hispano-Cubana de Cultura (IHC). To those who interpreted the article as “a censure of technical specialties,” the editors wish to make it clear that the criticism is not directed at the lecturer. They are instead stating their concern with the fact that the IHC “is performing its tasks on a scientific level that is all but inaccessible to most of the population it serves.” Such specialized knowledge, state the Revista de avance editors, is the province of the university.

    Annotations

    The Revista de avance had a section entitled “Guidelines,” which included short informative articles or comments on matters or events related to the focus of the journal. In this section, the editors informed the reader about changes, clarification, and comments on previous articles or matters of interest, in the form of brief articles. In this issue, of particular importance was the article published about the deportation of the Catalan art critic and Revista de avance editor Martí Casanovas, who would be replaced by Félix Lizaso (1891–1967). Lizaso was a noteworthy Cuban journalist and member of the Grupo Minorista. He was an avid student of the life and work of José Martí, especially his work as an art critic. He was also cofounder of and a contributor to a whole list of journals in Cuba and in other Latin American countries. Another important item in this issue is the response to the article published in the Madrid-based journal La Gaceta Literaria, entitled “Madrid, meridiano intelectual de Hispanoamérica.” By touching a nerve—the issue of the cultural and intellectual independence of Latin American countries—the Gaceta article unleashed a heated debate among Latin American writers and artists. José Carlos González Boixo’s text, entitled “‘El Meridiano Intelectual de Hispanoamérica’: polémica suscitada en 1927 por ‘La Gaceta Literaria,’” analyzes the issue in depth. The article written by the editors of the Spanish journal questions the interest of Latin American intellectuals in Italian and French cultures, trying to warn them about the hegemonic perspective of France and Italy, where they could end up marginalized. On the contrary, the article proposes an involvement with Madrid, which would allow a reassessment and preservation of the Hispanic language and culture. In their response, the avance editors state that such paternalistic comments are evidence of the dilemma faced by Latin American intellectuals. On the one hand, they wish to be freed from the cultural and intellectual dominance of Spain, a country they consider tradition-bound and mediocre. On the other, as a result of their nationalist and pro-independence lines of thought, they are eager to differentiate themselves from the art and literary trends that have dominated the period.

     

    [For further reading, see in the ICAA digital archive other “Directrices” published on: March 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1298727); April 15, 1927 (doc. no. 1298763); April 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1299725); May 15, 1927 (doc. no. 1299773); May 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1299841); August 15, 1927 (doc. no. 1299913); August 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1299981); and September 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1300074)].