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 article Damián Bayón interviews art historian Pierre Francastel (1900–1970) regarding the problem of abstract art, based upon what Bayón read in [Francastel’s] books. Before beginning [the interview], he states that the questions he formulated will be different from those he usually poses to artists.
Damián Carlos Bayón (1915–95) was an art critic, teacher and author of numerous books. He held a Ph.D in history and was a disciple of Jorge Romero Brest (1905-89); in 1948, he became one of the founders of the magazine Ver y estimar, for which Brest served as editor. The following year, Bayón moved to Paris, and continued to collaborate on the magazine until 1955 (the final year of its publication). He then began working with theoretician Pierre Francastel. n the next two decades, he became professor in the University of Texas at Austin.Ver y estimar had two publication eras: the first encompassed its first thirty-four issues, published between 1948 and 1953; the second stage, between 1954 and 1955, consisted of ten issues. This publication was meant to be educational with regard to art criticism, for its readers and for the students of Romero Brest who collaborated on [the magazine.] Its articles dealt with artists, exhibitions and problems within the local and international contexts, as well as with different historical periods. In relation to this article in which Pierre Francastel (1900-70) is interviewed by Bayón, it is important to note that Ver y estimar had begun to support abstract art beginning with issue nine of its first stage of publication—April 1949—and that this stance would take on more importance in each of the successive issues of the magazine. This support can be seen in this document as well as in the article published in issue twenty-six of the same magazine, entitled “Encuesta sobre el arte abstracto y el neorrealismo” [Survey on Abstract Art and Neorealism], text written by Bayón. There, one can observe the same methodology being used to unravel the problem posed by abstract art, which was the genre Bayón emphasized in his interview. The article in issue twenty-six covers questions posed to artists; in the case of this document, the addressee was an art historian, Pierre Francastel. It reveals the author’s concern regarding the problem “of abstract art” and how to deal with it, offering different views on how to consider the diverse agendas that make up the art field.