Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In this brief article, Siqueiros, the secretary of the Sindicato de Pintores y Escultores [SOTPE, Painters and Sculptors Union], reports that the painters laid off from their work on public buildings due to the machinations of “reactionary” individuals will exchange their walls for columns in El Machete, so that they may instead employ satirical graphics as a powerful social weapon. Their goal will be to support the Mexican proletariat in their struggle against the bourgeoisie; mainly against their press, which incited prejudice against revolutionary art in those government men of “good faith.”

Annotations

Five months after the initiation of El Machete, its editors, who were all members of the Sindicato de Obreros Técnicos, Pintores y Escultores [SOTPE, Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors], apparently made a redundant declaration given that the painters who had been expelled after the departure of José Vasconcelos from the SEP [Ministry of Public Education) in July 1924, José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974), had collaborated from the first edition of El Machete. The circumstances behind such a pompous and unoriginal announcement was a complaint against that very expulsion; although the article did not mention the names of those who had caused the expulsion through their “Jesuit intrigues.” In contrast to those “Objectives” written by Xavier Guerrero in the newspaper’s first edition—wherein the struggle against intellectual conservatives and the establishment of education for workers were seen as the central goals— Siqueiros emphasized the need to win public opinion away from the “bourgeois” press. One may infer that the end goal was to win over ”good faith” government officials who were capable of procuring space so that the muralists could continue with their “revolutionary task.”

The flyer that included the Siqueiros article also reported that El Machete would become a weekly publication released on Sunday beginning with its next issue. The newspaper’s flyers were an ideal propaganda tool since they were free and could be passed from person to person or pasted on a wall. Its cartoons and engravings were eye-catching even to those who could not read. It is likely that this sort of flyers were taken from nineteenth-century editorial houses such as Vanegas Arroyo, although in this case, the drawing and engravings were purged of any Costumbrist features.

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