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This article describes Diego Rivera’s lecture in the library at the Academia de Bellas Artes [Academy of Fine Arts], which was well attended. There was a great deal of interest in his presentation, particularly in artistic and intellectual circles. This article cites that the interest was mainly due to the fact that Rivera was one of the most informed members of the modern movement, who had spent much of his time living in Paris, the epicenter of the greatest artistic innovations and influences at this point in time. Rivera referred to those matters in his remarks, but he also spoke at length about Mexican art, specifically, the indigenous art of pottery making, and said that it was a mistake to try to combine aspects of modern art with the decorative themes of native art because merging the two would dilute the latter’s essential characteristics and distort its fundamental focus.  


The lecture given by Diego Rivera (1886–1957) attracted a large audience, including Mariano Silva Aceves, as representative of the University; Alfredo Ramos Martínez, the director of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes [National School of Fine Arts]; the critic Ricardo Gómez Robelo; and, among others, the artists Roberto Montenegro and Jorge Enciso who had already begun to paint murals at the former convent of San Pedro y San Pablo. Diego Rivera was wearing a suit and tie for the occasion, and stood in front of a curtain decorated with abstract designs, probably from the kind of pottery he referred to in his speech. Interestingly, he used the word “indigenous” rather than “popular arts” to define the direction he suggested for Mexican art. This is a seminal article in the conversation that seeks to distinguish between pre-Hispanic and popular art. 

Esther Acevedo
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional. México D.F., México