Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Carlos Chávez tells the press that he had received an order not to exhibit the painting Pesadilla de guerra y sueño de paz [Nightmare of War and Dream of Peace]. As such he had only two choices: remove the painting or close the museum; he opted for the former. He also clarifies that the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura [INBAL, National Institute for the Fine Arts and Literature] had already discharged its debt to Rivera with regard to the mural.

Annotations

Upset that his work Pesadilla de guerra y sueño de paz that glorified Stalin was left behind in Mexico, Diego Rivera (1886–1957) described the action taken by Carlos Chávez (1899-1978) and Fernando Gamboa (1908–1990) as "totalitarian" because they refused to send his mural painting. 

He declared that his fundamental human rights had been trampled because of this inhibition of his freedom of expression. In his judgment the decisions were left in the hands of two officials, not with the artists themselves. Rivera proposed that the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Letras (INBAL) should cease to exist and be replaced with a Ministerio de Bellas Artes y Letras de México [Ministry of Fine Arts and Literature]. He also claimed that the selection of artworks sent to Paris did not take young painters into account because of its "Porfirian-Mussolini" criteria. 

Rivera was accused of contradicting himself because in past years he had fought for Trotskyism and then suddenly changed drastically to Stalinism. His mural Pesadilla de guerra y sueño de paz can only be explained by Rivera’s wish to be openly invited to rejoin the PCM, Mexican Communist Party. Despite having been returned to the painter, his mural has disappeared. Only a sketch exists, which is on display at the Museo Dolores Olmedo in Xochimilco (Mexico City).  

Researcher
Ana María Torres : CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit

Location
Promotora Cultural Fernando Gamboa