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 article lists the reasons why the painter Juan O’Gorman filed an appeal with the Second Court of the Federal District (Mexico City). His goal was to lift the censorship on the murals he had painted in the waiting area of the Benito Juárez International Airport, which was at that time about to be inaugurated. O’Gorman accuses certain officials of the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas (SCOP) [Ministry of Public Works and Communication] of attacking “the freedom of thought and the guarantees offered by the regime.” Although he admits that his work displays “anti-fascist sympathies . . . and opposition to religious fanaticism,” the artist “does not believe that these are reasons for the buyers of Mexican petroleum to take offense.”
Although Juan O’Gorman’s (1905–1982) murals were commissioned by the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas (SCOP) in 1938 to adorn the international airport in Mexico City in Balbuena, they generated an internal controversy with international implications. One of the three panels of the work, La conquista del aire por el hombre [Man’s Conquest of the Air], depicted the Fascist leaders Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini as monstrous heads and terrifying serpents. The sociopolitical work warned of the potential threat that the Italian and German governments posed to world peace. The artist’s condemnation evidently constituted an affront to the leaders of those two countries, Mexico’s trading partners. Although he had appealed to the Civil Code in order to stop what he considered an outrage against “legal property,” two of the mural’s sections were destroyed before the court delivered its verdict. The third panel was put in storage; it was restored in 1979. Currently, it remains in storage.