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.
In this interview, David Alfaro Siqueiros expressed his views on the Biennial. He began by critiquing the paintings exhibited by the United States, and warned Latin American painters against imitating hybrid ideas that made no sense, such as Tachisme and Calligraphism. He expressed his satisfaction with the Mexican presentation, since it still included Realism. In discussing Rufino Tamayo’s attitude, Siqueiros accused him of playing the role of persecuted painter, when he was no such thing. If anything, he said, it was more a case of social realism being persecuted, referring to the presence of Mr. Gómez Sicre in a branch of the OAS and describing him as an “agent of abstractionism” based in Washington D.C., who had been “snooping around, trying to figure out how the Biennial might favor his aesthetic goals as opposed to those of Mexican painting.”
During the 1950s, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) denounced what he saw as a campaign of “cultural espionage” aimed at undermining the principles of the Mexican art movement. We should remember the episode provoked by Diego Rivera’s mural Pesadilla de guerra y sueño de paz [Nightmare of War and Dream of Peace], which he created specifically for the exhibition Arte mexicano: antiguo y moderno [Mexican Art: Ancient and Modern] that was presented in Paris, Stockholm, and London. On that occasion, according to Siqueiros and Diego Rivera (1886-1957), the infiltrators were the composer Carlos Chávez (1899-1978) and Fernando Gamboa (1909-90). They now identified the Cuban official and art critic José Gómez Sicre as the spy. Gómez Sicre was the head of the Visual Arts Department of the Unión Panamericana [Pan-American Union] based in Washington, D. C. that, as from 1948, had been replaced by the Organization of American States (OAS)]. Among his other functions, he promoted abstract art through exhibitions and contests everywhere in Latin America.