Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The correspondent for The Daily Worker in Chicago creates a context for his readers concerning the formation of a Communist and a revolutionary art in Mexico, which describes on the walls of public buildings the useless life of the upper classes and the productive life of the working classes. The author considers that this contrast was offensive for the conscience of the “upper classes,” to the point that they compelled the “reactionary” students to destroy the mural paintings by José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, claiming that they were disproportionate, offensive to good taste, and not aesthetic. Finally, the author of the article informs the readers that the foreign colony in Chicago protested vigorously against this action, by means of a letter which was affixed on the streets signed by well known European, United States, as well as Latin American painters, sculptors, journalists, and writers.

Annotations

The article is not signed nor does it bear the name of the translator. The news about the destruction of the murals painted by José Clemente Orozco (1993-1949) and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in July 1924, was reproduced in the Chicago newspaper in order to emphasize not only the admiration that the Mexican muralists received abroad, but also the solidarity of the international artistic community in the face of the attack suffered by their work. 

The Daily Worker was the official newspaper of the Communist Party in the United States of America, and began to be published in 1922 in Chicago and, beginning in 1924, was also published in New York. As regards format and style, El Machete was a very similar newspaper (except for the prints and red ink). Mexican editors frequently took articles by their United States counterpart journalists and translated them into Spanish. 

It is quite probable that Bertram D. Wolfe was one of the links between the Communist parties of the United States and Mexico and, consequently, the point of contact between the editorial staff of both newspapers. Besides, as a regular contributor to El Machete, Wolfe possibly worked as a translator between March 1924 and June 1925, when he was expelled from Mexico, the reason cited being that he was a "pernicious" foreigner.

Researcher
Adela Cedillo : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, 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