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.
Martí Casanovas discusses the two qualities to be found in Tina Modotti’s photographs, referring on the one hand to the formalist, aesthetic value of her work and, on the other, highlighting its social importance as a propaganda tool used on behalf of a human ideal. Casanovas notes that some critics complain that the social message in Modotti’s work—a source of her inspiration and the subject matter of her recent projects—reduces her photographs to simple anecdotes, thus diminishing their artistic merit. Casanovas comments on the “art purist” qualities of Modotti’s photographs, and reflects on how she uses her work to further the aims of the revolution. According to Casanovas, the way Modotti combines these two strands is possibly her finest and most highly prized achievement.
Martí Casanovas (1894-1978) was born in Barcelona, Spain. He arrived in Cuba during the 1920s, where he joined the radical, political Grupo Minorista [Minority Group] and wrote for Social magazine. In 1927, together with Alejo Carpentier, Juan Marinello, and other militant writers, he founded revista de avance, where he made a name for himself as an art critic. During the course of that same year the dictatorial regime led by General Gerardo Machado (1925-33) accused him of being a communist, imprisoned him and deported him. He went to Mexico in 1927 and lived there until 1951. On his arrival he joined the ranks of the Movimiento de Pintores ¡30-30! [¡30-30! Painters Movement], and was one of the editors of the movement’s magazine.