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Justino Fernández attempts to establish a concept of  “arte mexicano,” pointing out that no expression is more valid than any other when rating it as “Mexican.” The critic considers that a whole complex historical expression, which shows different moments and ways of living and understanding the world, should be understood as “Mexican art.” Fernández considers three great periods in the history of Mexican art, (the pre-Hispanic, the colonial, and the period after Independence), which cannot be understood as part of a lineal process, but rather as the result of a continuous interplay between the past and the present.


The researcher and scholar Justino Fernández (1904-1972) took it upon himself to point out the need to systematize art criticism with the purpose of achieving an understanding of the aesthetic phenomena that shaped the history of visual art expressions Mexico. Just as Fernando Gamboa, Fernández established certain guidelines in the incipient fields of museology in Mexico, as well as the understanding of art through the spaces where it is exhibited. Fernández considered certain conceptual tools to be applied to art criticism as well as research, by means of a gradual professionalization, to be achieved particularly through his didactic role in the founding of the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas de la UNAM [IAesthetics Research Institute of the UNAM]. The timing when Fernández developed his work is fundamental, due to the enthusiasm of the artistic manifestation at the moment. Thus the need to state the problem and establish a series of criteria, valid or not, that pointed the way toward consolidating art history as an academic field.

Mireida Velázquez
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Justino Fernández and the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional. México D.F., México