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.
This document reports on the publication of a manifesto signed by the Comunista Estudiantil de la Escuela Nacional Preparatoria [Student Communist Group at the National Preparatory School], comprised of 151 members. It explains how a small minority group that neither understands nor recognizes art came to protest “the ugliness” of mural painting. The authors try to explain that the art is national in scope because it portrays the struggles of the people; that it is not a photograph of reality but rather, through sketches and the use of primary colors, mirrors the suffering of millions of Mexicans whose survival is extremely difficult. They accuse Ezequiel A. Chávez, the president of the university, of being the moral stimulus behind the attack. They also accuse the Federación Mexicana de Estudiantes of being manipulated by the thirty coins [of silver] given to them by the Ministry of Public Education.
The protestors use interesting language to defend mural painting, characterizing it as virile in comparison to the feminine nature of academic art. The article also speaks to the differences between academic and modern art; the formation of conservative groups and their antagonists; and the communist groups that were then taking form. Today it is easy to understand why the conservatives felt that the art of the muralist was “ugly”: the introduction of caricature illustrated wretched native people that were now being paid tribute in a grand scale. These values were not part of the bourgeois mindset. The groups that threw stones at the murals were composed of conservative students belonging to the Federación Estudiantil.