Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

To the critic Antonio Rodríguez, the decadence of Mexican painting was based on an abandoning of ideological stances and a distancing from the social problems of humanity. The blame could mainly be laid at the door of the abstract painters who had turned their backs on revolutionary painting. Although he was a supporter of political painting, Rodríguez also defended those painters who had entered into the field of abstraction with true sincerity, not to erase all human concerns from painting, but to explore new terrain. In his opinion, another problem causing the crisis in painting was instruction; he considered the Academia de San Carlos a total wasteland. Raúl Flores Guerrero, a professor at that institution, told him that fifth-year students did not know how to draw, paint, or sculpt. The critic noted, however, that Méndez, Beltrán, Camarena, Bustos, Siqueiros, Tamayo, and the young artists Gironella, Amaya, and Gordillo were painters whose promise would pull painting out of the crisis.

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In the 1950s, Antonio Rodríguez, a Portuguese art critic exiled in Mexico, made a trip through the communist countries where Socialist Realism was dogma. During this time, Rodríguez corrected his former parochialisms and declared that he was in favor of creative freedom. These declarations were criticized by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974), who believed that it was precisely this trend that was distancing art from the movement’s aesthetic/political origins and moving painting toward art for art's sake. Rodríguez responded that it was not for Siqueiros to play the role of inquisitor or to censure creation. At the same time, Rodríguez kept hurling criticisms at abstract painters, such as: “I will never stop pointing out fraudulent artists such as Mathias Goeritz . . . but I will never lift a finger to stop him from exhibiting his work.”

Researcher
Ana María Torres
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of María Antonieta Fernández Moreno, Mexico City, México

Location
Archivo personal Ana María Torres