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Synopsis

Leopoldo Méndez not only contributed images for the magazine Horizonte, he also voiced his ideas, as in this text. In it he emphasizes the rebellious, antibourgeois, and anti-art for art’s sake aspect of mural art, describing it as that “multitudinous voice” that the Estridentistas assimilated in their proposal for social renewal. Méndez talks about the Mexican Revolution and the need for painters to create art that should live through the efforts and ferment of the country leaving behind the academicism of portraits of naked bodies in serene attitudes. The author quotes the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Jean Charlot, Ramón Alva de la Canal and Fermín Revueltas, as being “revolutionary soldiers” who forged in large format the new aesthetics of protest filled with popular yearnings.

Annotations

Differing from other personalities in the Mexican artistic milieu, such as David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera, Leopoldo Méndez (1902-1969), the “dandy in overalls”—as he was nicknamed by the Estridentista group—made rare incursions into the production of reflective texts concerning the meaning of his practice. This is one example, in which he additionally tackles the relationship with public painting.   Estridentismo, an early Mexican avant-garde originated in 1922, arose parallel to the muralist movement. Its creator and for some time only member was Manuel Maples Arce, a poet from Veracruz who rebelled against modernist poets and academic painting. Related by affinity to Dadaism, Futurism, Ultraism, and Creationism, in its European and Latin American manifestations, Estridentismo was a movement that concentrated on agit-prop strategies, and an unrestricted adherence to a mechanical aesthetics. Estridentistas encouraged a new urban sensibility through which experiences accumulate in simultaneity, at the rhythm of modern life. The name of the movement itself refers to city noise, but also to the willingness to be heard for your embedded transgressions and excesses.  Estridentismo was a movement of artists involved in literature, music, painting, prints, photography, and sculpture. It had its center of operations at El Café de Nadie, located in Mexico City and, later in the city of Xalapa (Veracruz), where its members, with the leadership of Manuel Maples Arce (1898-1981), were involved in an educational revolution. It owned several communication media such as the magazine Ser, Irradiador, and Horizonte.

Researcher
Francisco Reyes Palma : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Pablo Méndez Barrera, Mexico City, México
Location
Donación Blanca Vermeersch de Maples Arce : Museo Nacional de Arte