Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This document analyzes the national repercussions that the Sindicato de Obreros Técnicos, Pintores y Escultores [SOTPE, Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors] had on an art scene that was then dominated by individualism. Siqueiros reiterates some of the ideas of the SOTPE Union’s manifesto regarding the role that painters and sculptors should play in service to the people; he also analyzes the few responses received to the call that was made to the art community to join the aesthetic-social struggle. The author launches a diatribe against Latin American writers for their lack of social commitment; he also blames the Mexican educational system for encouraging egotism and indifference to the tragedies of the native peoples, as well as for perverting the education of aesthetics. He proposes replacing the Eurocentric approach with a national focus, so that Mexico can have a future as grand as its indigenous past.

Annotations

Using a Manichean construct, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) compares the values of the communist artists (committed, honest, disinterested and virile) with those of the rest of the intellectual community (elitist, ambitious, servile or neutral, lovers of the eclectic and that which lacks virility). The most-developed theme is that of the artist’s social function as well as the appreciation of folk elements as a source of ethical and aesthetic principles. The author equates the actions of socially committed artists with those of the primitive Italian artisans who produced Christian propaganda; indicating that his objectives are social redemption and the fulfillment of a collective need for beauty from the people that is directed toward them. The homophobic tone is typical of the group that found its most perfect antithesis in the generation of so-called Los Contemporáneos.

Researcher
Adela Cedillo : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City, Mexico
Location
Biblioteca Guillermo Bonfil Batalla de la Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Fondo José Toribio Medina del Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia