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.
Having recently unpacked his bags after a trip to Europe, Diego Rivera was interviewed by Roberto Barrios at the courtyards of the Academia de la Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, amid the classic statues that the students have traditionally copied in their sculpture modeling classes. Barrios asked: why has the artist returned to his homeland? Diego replied that he wished to delve further into the study of popular art forms and the ruins of our wondrous past, with the goal of crystallizing some ideas about art and certain projects he has been incubating that, if he can execute them, would give his œuvre a new and deeper meaning. Rivera began to use the words “artist,” “worker,” and “builder” as synonyms. When Barrios asked him about [Ignacio] Zuloaga, his old mentor, Diego replied that Zuloaga poisons the public’s taste, and is less than incidental because his work is based on bourgeois affectation and supreme insincerity. In his opinion, the great masters are instead Cézanne, Picasso, Braque, and Gris.
Roberto Barrios, rather careless with his transcription, wrote “Ribera” instead of “Rivera” and made mistakes with the titles of the works that illustrated the article. Nevertheless, since it was written in July 1921, the text offered contemporary readers a new vision of who Diego Rivera (1886–1957) really was and what he sought artistically. It is interesting to note that he chose to fight his battle within a field of aesthetics where he formulated his obsessions and the paradigm he was seeking. It is also worth noting that there were no “schools,” per se, just a single figure whose example was followed by others. When he returned from Europe, Rivera was aware that this return to native cultures would lend both a Mexican and an international quality to his art, just as other artists in Latin America were doing at the time.