Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Elena Poniatowska spent time gathering opinions on the Inter-American Biennial of Painting and Printmaking. According to Octavio Paz, the four great masters of painting were Carlos Mérida, Rufino Tamayo, Wilfredo Lam, and Roberto Matta; he felt that the omission of Carlos Mérida, as well as a number of other foreign painters who had been living in Mexico for many years, such as Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Alice Rahon, was an insult. He added that the one positive thing to come out of the biennial was the exhibition of paintings by Juan Soriano, whom he considered a revelation. On another note, the Spanish writer Tomás Segovia said he thought the event was simply awful; for him the only saving grace was Francisco Goitia’s painting Los silos de Zacatecas [The Silos of Zacatecas]. Alberto Gironella said that the Palacio de Bellas Artes had been turned into a family tomb where the "dead are mixed up with the living." At the same time, he stated his belief that Siqueiros was controlling the decisions of the cultural authorities; despite being a Communist, the painter could not accept other people expressing different points of view. 

 

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Annotations

Alberto Gironella (1929–1999) had become an autonomous painter, distancing himself from the official art world and even poking fun at the authoritarian attitudes of public officials. In addition to being a painter, Gironella was an art promoter—he owned the alternative art space Galería Proteo. In 1955, the gallery had been the venue for an international confrontation about experimental art, organized by Mathias Goeritz (1915–1990), and the gallery had also been the site of the exhibition of los inconformes [the dissenters]. David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) was the focus of his criticism; the article was accompanied by a photomontage of the painting Nuestra imagen actual [Our Current Image]. Upon the figure’s outstretched arms we may appreciate a sack of money which, according to Gironella, was exactly what Siqueiros was after.

Researcher
Ana María Torres: CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Elena Poniatowska Amor, Mexico City, México
Location
Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público