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.
Antonio Rodríguez begins his text by justifying, to a degree, José Luís Cuevas’ harsh denunciation of the Mexican muralism movement to Marta Traba. The writer states that Cuevas, as a young painter and critic of his time, should be allowed such irreverence; nevertheless, he warns that Cuevas is risking his prestige and standing—at least until he has amassed a body of work that supports this heresy and gives him the right to attack others and defend himself. The author repeats some of the statements he made to Traba, the Argentine critic based in Colombia; in them Cuevas affirmed that muralism was a spectacular monstrosity, that it contributed nothing to art, and that it had already been buried along with its founding fathers. In addition to criticizing José Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo, Cuevas states that he cannot understand why Colombian artists continue to defend the muralist movement given that, for him, it was nothing more than the manifestation of the political interests of the painters involved in the movement, and that it was pervaded by a picturesque quality that appealed to American tourists. Rodríguez notes that both Traba and José Gómez Sicre gratuitously declared themselves enemies of this Mexican art movement.
In her book, Pintura Mexicana contemporánea en tiempos de cambio [Contemporary Mexican Painting in Time of Change] (1989), Shifra M. Goldman stated that the campaign against the Mexican school reached its most eloquent expression in the 1960s, with the conferences and writings of Marta Traba and José Luís Cuevas. She also maintained that various painters and writers in Mexico considered that the activities of Gómez Sicre, Traba, and Argentine art critic Jorge Romero Brest constituted a campaign to change the direction of Mexican art. Nevertheless, critics such as Antonio Rodríguez doggedly continued to defend the muralist movement.