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, Margarita Nelken, the Spanish critic, reacts to the opinions expressed by David Alfaro Siqueiros. Nelken defends her comments concerning the lack of innovation in Diego Rivera’s art, and says that it is regrettable to attempt to represent the art (and the very gist) of an entire country through the work of just one painter. She insists that revolutionary painting has nothing to do with the revolutionary “theme.” Nelken also deplores any attempt to “haggle” about a critic’s right to express an opinion in order to establish a “taboo” and support one particular painter’s belief that he does not have to submit to criticism of his work. Nelken mentions that she has nearly finished a book on modern Mexican art commissioned by the Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) [Ministry of Public Education] in which she reviews the works of Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, Carlos Orozco Romero, Rufino Tamayo, Raúl Anguiano, Jesús Guerrero Galván, and María Izquierdo.
In this interview, Margarita Nelken (1896-1968) confirms her stated intention to reclaim her right to express her opinion; in other words, she dismisses those who “believe that a painter can exhibit his work and avoid having it critiqued.” She denies the existence of a “political campaign.” Nelken does not reply, however, when asked if Diego Rivera (1886-1957) provides certain “propaganda functions” for a particular sector. Her ideas are grounded in the prestige she has accumulated throughout her career: “I have been an art critic my whole life; I have struggled and sacrificed everything for my ideas.” The book she was commissioned to write by the SEP was never published, in spite of her demands.