Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Diego Rivera briefly reviews what he sees in the artists of the period and discusses the various trends in artistic expression in Mexico at the time, indicating his preference for murals with a nationalist theme. He claims that painters and the general public have drifted out of touch with each other in Mexico. This led to criticism from the press and the contempt of the comfortable middle class, which in turn put some artists on the defensive and prompted others to turn on each other. Rivera ends by saying that, in spite of everything, they must keep working. They must also hope that the public continues to yearn for an artistic movement, and that one or more artists transform it into “The Voice.”  

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Diego Rivera (1886-1957) wrote this article in 1923, while he was working on the murals at the Secretaría de Educación Pública [Ministry of Public Education]. He had already completed his first mural assignment—as suggested by José Vasconcelos—at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria.   This article is important because it shows that the muralist movement was barely beginning to develop its pictorial ideals at the time, and because it mentions the differences that had arisen between artists. It also poses questions such as, “what style to use in one’s painting?” or “what elements should be included in the composition?” In spite of the strong differences that create divisions among members of the movement—and the negative views expressed in the press—Rivera insists that what will unify the movement is its commitment to the people of Mexico. This is what motivates them to do battle with their brushes, and leads to a state of constant political confrontation.

Researcher
María Fernanda Arochi, Eloísa Hernández
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
D.R. © 2011 Banco de México, “Fiduciario” en el Fideicomiso relativo a los Museos Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo. Av. Cinco de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del. Cuauhtémoc 06059, México, D.F.
Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional. México D.F., México