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 his long essay, Siqueiros defends Diego Rivera’s work in response to Margarita Nelken’s article on the latter’s retrospective exhibition at Bellas Artes published in the latest issue of Cuadernos Americanos. He accuses Nelken of being “addicted to the formalism of Paris—with all its nihilistic honey” and of being one of the “ideologues of ‘abstractionism’.” Siqueiros goes on to say that, “her critical thinking about art is based on nothing but her instinct and her taste.” According to the painter, “art is not an autonomous phenomenon that creates itself and then floats around on its own in the sphere of society and life, but rather is something that arises from the very platform of the world and of mankind.” Siqueiros insists that the Mexican School of Painting is “the first expression of public art after a long period of decadence in the visual arts all over the world.”
This is the first of five articles published by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) in Excélsior, in which he discusses art criticism and the role of Spanish exiles living in Mexico. Toward the end of his article, the mural painter wonders if the views expressed by Margarita Nelken (1896-1968) are her own ”personal critical opinions” within the group of refugees from the Spanish Civil War or, “on the contrary, whether her sharp remarks reflect the more widespread opinions held by those writers and artists?” In his subsequent articles, Siqueiros criticized the Spanish painters for not having finished the collective mural at the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas [Mexican Electricians Union], and attacked almost all the contemporary critics (Justino Fernández, Luis Cardoza y Aragón, Antonio Castro Leal, Jorge Juan Crespo de la Serna, and so on), with the exception of Antonio Rodríguez.