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.
It had been a month since El Machete reported the end of a dispute between Luis Cardoza y Aragón and the defenders of the single cultural front promoted in the magazine Frente a Frente [Face to Face]. In this article, the Estridentista and active researcher of historical materialism, Arqueles Vela, revisited the controversial exhibition of work by the artists in the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR) [League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists]. The medium he chose was a long treatise on the “spirit of an epoch” that takes the form of his own ideological statement, the material nature of the time translated into a lifestyle. Vela adds that the work shown by the LEAR is not an expression of the time in which one lives. In his scholar and radical opinion, the artists whose works are most irrelevant are those who adhere to a trend, the “más pobre” [low point] of the exhibition.
When the writer, professor, and art critic Arqueles Vela (1899–1977) from Guatemala states that “all art is projection and never a personal matter,” his approach to art is the diametric opposite of that of his compatriot, the writer Luis Cardoza y Aragón (1901–1992). However, they both agree that the most notable work in the exhibition is that of the painter Julio Castellanos (1905–1947). Arqueles Vela points out that in the manner of the ancient Spanish Masters, this painter produced “one of the first manifestations of plebeian Mexican art." The writer adds that Castellanos renders his painting, El diálogo [The Dialogue] in a “revolutionary style.” Thus, the figures of the soldier and the woman, “depicted with pure sensuality, give the work the massive quality that represents the ideology of the period, taken into its more abstract form.” Regardless of these comments, it was common knowledge that Castellanos was linked with the apolitical and art for art’s sake that were typical of the group known as Los Contemporáneos.