Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Inspired by the native talent of Mexican workers and peasants and their love of the visual arts, El Machete invited these two segments of their audience to be the sole participants in an ongoing drawing contest. The Sindicato de Pintores y Escultores Revolucionarios [sic] [Union of Revolutionary Painters and Sculptors] would nominate the jury and reward the monthly winner with a packet of materials. The contest was launched with a drawing by Máximo Pacheco, “¡Joven trabajador!” [Young Worker!], in addition to an invitation made to join the Juventud Comunista de México [Mexican Communist Youth].

Annotations

At the time this invitation was issued, El Machete had not yet been taken over by the Partido Comunista de México (PCM) [Communist Party of Mexico] and was still being run by militant artists who were particularly interested in the art education of the “exploited classes.” The artists planned to pursue initiatives such as this contest in order to promote their idea that drawing could be used as an instrument in the struggle against the “bourgeoisie.” The illustrations were presented as models for all to follow, but notwithstanding their idealization at the hands of the artists, the workers and peasants were hard-pressed to imitate the promoters’ visual language or assimilate the profound symbolic charge of their works.

There is no additional information available on the results of the project, although it is a fair assumption that it was not an overwhelming success, in spite of the rosy predictions trumpeted by the promoters. The name of the winner was supposed to have been published during the first week of April; however, the magazine did not appear that month because it was being transformed into the Official Organ of the PCM, which launched on May 1, 1925. The new management abandoned some projects that the artists had introduced (such as the contest in question) and there was a dramatic decrease in the quantity and quality of their contributions.

Researcher
Adela Cedillo
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit

Location
Biblioteca Guillermo Bonfil Batalla de la Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Fondo José Toribio Medina del Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia