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.
The art critic Juan Climent thought that Rufino Tamayo’s painting was caught in the crossfire of conflicting opinions. Some thought that his œuvre represented the decadent formalism of the School of Paris, but others saw it as the dawn of a new day in Mexican pictorial art. The reason for these differences of opinion, according to Climent, was that Tamayo had turned his back on political art. He did, however, recognize that Tamayo was interested in the “Mexican-ness” that he found in the inner message that came from the indigenous—from the native roots and the essence of what was here before Cortéz. Tamayo thought that an expression of the gist of Mexico should emerge from its plastic qualities, and its painting should be part of a universal expression. He also suggested that mural painting had been assigned a relevant role, but that it was not the most important expression.
What Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) said to the various art critics of the period provide insights into his aesthetic ideas. In these interviews, the painter from Oaxaca cleared up a number of misunderstandings and explained the contents of his paintings. First of all, he declared himself to be opposed to paintings with a political agenda. In his opinion, the revolution in art was happening in the plastic and technical realm. He did not, however, agree with theories that defended non-objective painting that he considered empty and de-humanized; he said he was opposed to abstract art because he thought it was just geometrical speculation. For Tamayo, art must always have a social function; in his case, he sought to express a poetic realism that would stimulate the viewer’s imagination.