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.
In the wake of the critical reactions to two exhibitions of Mexican art—at the 25th Venice Biennial in 1950 and the 1952 Paris Biennial —this long document offered readers a summary of events. The Venice Biennial was deemed a success while the Paris Biennial, according to David Alfaro Siqueiros, sparked harsher critical reactions, most particularly one from the André Breton group that had bent to Trotsky’s ideas, and others from the new school in Paris where realist propositions were considered passé. This article (in reality, the transcript of a speech) explains how the critics reacted to the exhibition when it opened in Stockholm and London. In general, opinions regarding the Mexican School of Painting were quite positive. The article mentions that the Metropolitan Museum of Art requested the exhibition, but without the contemporary section. When the exhibition arrived in Mexico, it was presented in incomplete form. The text also discusses the incident caused by Diego Rivera’s mural, Pesadilla de Guerra y Sueño de Paz [Nightmare of War and Dream of Peace], as well as the dismissal of Andrés Iduarte. The Mexican movement was viewed as a leftist movement to which the Communist Party belonged, and this was seen negatively during the 1950s, as the U.S. campaign against socially oriented painting began to gain momentum. In Los Angeles, José Clemente Orozco was expelled; in Mexico, Andrés Iduarte, director of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, [INBA, National Institute of Fine Arts], was fired for placing a Communist Party flag on the coffin of Frida Kahlo. Cold War is at its peak; so that this was a time in which the Mexican State needed to implement a cultural policy that functioned in the same way as its agrarian policy.
The magazine edited by David Alfaro Siqueiros offered more information on the Venice and Paris biennials. This perspective was especially relevant because McCarthyism had already taken root in a very frightening way in the United States where, in all areas of the arts, including film and theater, censorship was imposed upon depictions of social problems.According to David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974), the Mexican government’s censorship of the mural by Diego Rivera (1886–1957) entitled Pesadilla de Guerra y Sueño de Paz [Nightmare of War and Dream of Peace] was the result of pressure exerted by the United States government at the start of the Cold War.