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.
This document is a “summary of the planning, organization and installation” contained in Fernando Gamboa’s curatorial script. It lists the pre-Hispanic, colonial, contemporary, and folk art works that were exhibited in the show’s different sections. The “visual arts syntheses” which represented each of the eight sections are also described, as are the esplanade, main hall, and exterior garden spaces. It includes concrete information (which would later be reproduced on posters) concerning the country’s potential: “in one generation, the [Mexican] capital will become the fourth city of the American continent,” “the control of our economic future” based on the 1938 oil expropriation, the 70 percent rise in production between 1945 and 1957, and so on.
This is the final curatorial plan, the one that would be implemented in Brussels. Its greatest significance can be found in the artworks that would be exhibited, given that the most important of these had great visual impact: the Atlante of Tula, the Jaguar made of basalt, a Chac Mol statue, reproductions of three Mayan masks from Bonampak, the baroque altar at Tepotzotlán, and so on. These displays of “indigenous genius” were echoed in the contemporary Mexican School—represented by the paintings of José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949), Diego Rivera (1886–1957), David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974), and Rufino Tamayo (1899–1991)—that, “[manifested] a preoccupation with monumental and public art, just as in the past.” In this manner, Gamboa reconstructed the old nationalist discourse in which the indigenous community was represented as if it were the origin and the core of the present-day State. The panels, sculptures, and murals created by the artists of the movement’s second generation (Leopoldo Méndez, Francisco Zúñiga, Feliciano Peña, Federico Canessi, José Chávez Moraldo, and others) reinforced this idea of continuity. In general, with regard to “the History” of Mexico, the exhibition only contemplates the Conquest of 1521, the Independence of 1810, the Juarez Reformation of 1857, and the Revolution of 1910.