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In El Machete, number 13 (September 11-18, 1924), Siqueiros rails against the recent desecration of Orozco and Rivera’s murals. He accuses as false revolutionaries those who minimize the problem and complains that reactionaries have free rein at the SEP (Ministry of Public Education). Siqueiros claims there is a great difference between the first Minister of Education, José Vasconcelos—whose administration coincided with the pictorial movement—and the second incumbent, during whose term the SEP was unable to do its duty to protect the aesthetic heritage of the Mexican proletariat. Siqueiros signs the article in his capacity as Secretary General and announces Diego Rivera’s withdrawal from the Painters and Sculptors Union [sic].


The article recalls the differences between muralists. Sponsors begin to emerge, and the hard-line revolutionary position taken by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) has no support from José Vasconcelos (1882-1959). On the contrary; the latter commissions Diego Rivera (1886-1957) to paint the murals at the SEP, Ministry of Public Education. According to Renato González Mello, these murals can be read in two different ways; he claims there is the visible subject matter, and then there is the message that can only be read by those who understand Masonic symbols.   The article was published in El Machete—no. 13 (September 11-18, 1924): 2—under the title, “Protesta del Sindicato Revolucionario de Pintores y Escultores por nuevas profanaciones de pinturas murales” [“A Protest by the Painters and Sculptors Revolutionary Union against the recent desecrations of murals”]. El Machete had a staff of more than thirty illustrators and journalists, all devoted to the revolutionary cause, and nobody could deny the power of satirical illustration as a social weapon.

Esther Acevedo
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City, Mexico
Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros