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    La banda comunista en Signo
    Bandera Argentina : diario nacionalista (Buenos Aires, Argentina). -- No. 276 (Jun. 23, 1933)
    Newspaper article – notes
    Bandera Argentina: diario nacionalista (Buenos Aires).  "La banda comunista en Signo." June 23, 1933.
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The nationalist Catholic newspaper Bandera Argentina [Argentinean Flag] writes about the lecture given by Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros at Signo facilities, an association of artists directed by Leonardo Estarico. The columnist believes that a Communist faction headed by David Alfaro Siqueiros has come together at the magazine Signo to conspire toward the destruction of Argentinean Catholic culture. The author believes these local Modern artists serve Soviet Communism for a purpose as such. 


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].

This document is one of a group of articles published in the nationalist Argentinean press, which carried out a campaign against the presence of Siqueiros within the framework set by the activities of the Argentinean People’s Commission against Communism. Created in 1932, this group was an expression of the nationalism that had been strengthened by the military coup of 1930. The newspapers Bandera Argentina [Argentinean Flag], a Catholic nationalist periodical, and Crisol [Melting pot], the anti-Semitic nationalist paper run by Enrique Osés, were the most active against the Mexican artist. The critic Alfredo Tarruella collaborated on Bandera Argentina.

The lecture given at Signo facilities, the magazine run by the art critic Leonardo Estarico, was one of the key moments in the debate Siqueiros carried out with the artists of Argentina; this lecture had already been cancelled previously at the Asociación Amigos del Arte.

Roberto Amigo.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Biblioteca Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina.