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 speech delivered at the Universidad Obrera [Workers’ College] and transcribed in this article, the artist Jesús Guerrero Galván discusses the perspective and mission of the artist: “ . . . when confronted with social problems . . . it is necessary to be an accurate receptor of reality . . . it is the communion between artist and public.” The author characterizes realism as “one of the central traits of our modern Mexican painting movement” and deems the abstract trend “useless.” In his opinion, “this plague is a new kind of invasion, pushing aside and denying our painting . . . This evil is capable of destroying that combative spirit, that tradition of integrity that has characterized all the painters and which has earned universal prestige for our art . . . .” In some way, the author concludes that the society of artists will continue down the path of “the Mexican Revolution” and that the post-revolutionary regimes had “worked very hard in the interest of the nation’s culture and material needs.”
In a continuation of the manifesto of David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974), “No hay más ruta que la nuestra” [There is no path other than ours] (1945), the Jaliscan painter Jesús Guerrero Galván (1910–1973) alludes to the social function of realist art, which is contextualized within the manifesto of the so-called “Cortina del nopal [Prickly Pear Curtain] that José Luis Cuevas advocated in the fight against muralism and the emergence of the Ruptura group. Guerrero Galván’s generation felt a need to emphatically defend realism against the acceptance of the abstract trend in both the art critics’ circles and the market. His adherence to the Partido Popular [People’s Party] is evidence of this defense, so that Guerrero Galván and artists such as Leopoldo Méndez, Xavier Guerrero, Federico Canessi, and others supported the presidential 1952 candidacy of the Communist candidate Vicente Lombardo Toledano, and even opened an art school at the Universidad Obrera. It is worth mentioning that Lombardo Toledo, as part of his cultural platform, invoked the struggle for peace and democracy in the fight against imperialism. Nevertheless, these kinds of discourses did not succeed in averting the rise of abstract painting, which entered the Mexican art scene with renewed energy.