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.
Rufino Tamayo takes a radical approach questioning the spirit of nationalism in the visual arts, and suggests that artists should focus on more universal values in their work. In this critical piece he reminds us that, at that time, painting enjoyed a measure of “success with tourists” and, as a counterpoint, underscored the racial and ethnic origins of Mexican art.
Among the various controversies that erupted between the painters who embraced a form of pictorial nationalism and the group of intellectuals who were accused of being “art purists”—including those known as Los Contemporáneos [The Contemporary Group]—this article by Rufino Tamayo (1899–1991) surreptitiously places him in the latter group. He makes an eloquent appeal for a universal approach in Mexican painting, pointing to France as an example. As early as 1926, Tamayo, who was born in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, realized that the cultural and artistic environment in Mexico was interfering with his development as an artist, so he set off on his first visit to New York where Tamayo immersed himself in its cosmopolitan life. Furthermore, Tamayo was criticized by several critics of that period, as were the murals he painted at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música [National Conservatory of Music].