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.
Juan Pérez [John Doe], pseudonym of an unknown author, writes about the political content in David Alfaro Siqueiros’s work, emphasizing that muralism is a tool of the proletarian revolution. The anonymous author expresses the local Communist viewpoint on Siqueiros’s painting as well as its political usefulness in developing the worker’s awareness by opposing the pure art of the bourgeoisie.
Having been expelled from the United States, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) traveled to Montevideo in February of 1933, and by the end of May in that same year he had established himself in Buenos Aires. In the River Plate, Siqueiros experimented with technique and presented arguments based on the contents of his lecture Los vehículos de la pintura dialéctico-subversiva [The Vehicles of Dialectical-Subversive Painting], which he had developed while in the United States. In June he exhibited in Buenos Aires at Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art], a liberal and modernizing arts institution. He gave controversial lectures that polarized the arts field into the defenders of “arte puro” [“pure art”] and “arte político” [“political art”]. He was supported by Contra. La revista de los francotiradores [Against: The Snipers’ Magazine], run by the leftist writer Raúl González Tuñón [see documents 733230, 733314, and 733270, among others]. Siqueiros collaborated on the newspaper Crítica [Critique], run by Natalio Botana. Botana commissioned Siqueiros to paint a mural in the cellar of his house, Quinta Los Granados, in Don Torcuato, in the Province of Buenos Aires. The Equipo Poligráfico Ejecutor [Lead Polygraphic Team]—formed by Siqueiros, Antonio Berni (1905–1981), Lino Enea Spilimbergo (1896–1964), Juan Carlos Castagnino (1908–1972), and the Uruguyan set-designer Enrique Lázaro—created Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Exercise], with distorted nudes over the curved surface of the vaulted ceiling, by means of photographic projection. It was conceived as a fresco on cement, using such technical innovations as application by mechanical tools and the use of industrial silicates. In December 1933, sketches and photographs of the mural were exhibited in the magazine Signo [Sign] premises. Currently the work is in storage due to litigation; damage may affect its conservation. During the period, Argentinean right-wingers strongly attacked the Mexican Communist painter in its publications Bandera Argentina [Argentinean Flag] and Crisol [Melting pot], which were representative of the Catholic nationalism that had gained momentum since the 1930 military coup [see documents 733206, 734077, and 733182, among others].Juan Pérez [John Doe] was the pseudonym of an unidentified author. Actualidad [Current Times] was a publication dedicated to the dissemination of Communist ideals in Argentina, situated politically in what was known as the proletarian bloc, in contrast to the bourgeoisie intellectual bloc. Juan Pérez’s text had the objective of recuperating the figure of Siqueiros within the proletarian doctrine of the Communist Party, a leading line in 1933, while distancing him from leftist magazines such as Contra [Against], which were considered “vague” in their ideology.