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, the Minister of Public Education points out some of the aspects he considers fundamental in the promotion of art and culture, aside from the fact that this campaign is of the utmost importance for the Mexican people. José Vasconcelos believes that art is for everybody, especially for the poorest people. He also declares that there is no preference for any painter or sculptor, but that he only limits himself to offer them the means to work toward the creation of a kind of art that is neither servile nor bourgeois, but art destined for public enjoyment. The pictorial aesthetics reinforced by the Minister, in accordance with his own words, is limited to speed and surface, in other words, for painters to work fast and fill many walls.
The support offered by the Mexican government, through the personal position of José Vasconcelos (1882-1959) for the promotion of visual arts production, proved to entail strong contradictions derived precisely from his preference for certain painters. However, it was above all, due to his specific interest in other sources of human creativity, such as philosophy, music, or literature. During his administration (1921-1924) Vasconcelos determined not only the contents but also the premises for mural production, establishing a more universal trend for the incipient movement—disregarding political and social consequences that would fill public walls shortly afterwards. The influence of Vasconcelos’ thought is evident not only in the themes of the visual arts, but also in the visual language of the first murals realized by artists such as Diego Rivera and Roberto Montenegro, who were closer to a philosophical interpretation of the universe, rather than to the national reality that the muralists of later years pretended to portray.