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 explains that only fools think culture is improvised. This is why the reconstruction plan proposed by the Secretaria de Educación Pública (SEP) [Ministry of Public Education] was based on the past with an eye on the future. The Ministry, under José Vasconcelos, wanted to express some of this thinking in its sculpture program. The program starts at the top with an allegory of a Greek tragedy and the eternal conflicts of human nature. There are two figures at the corners of the building, one female and one male, who appear to be in flight, symbolizing the ideal of transcending the rock on which they stand. Four bas-reliefs represent Eastern/Western cultures on the upper panels in the front patio. In the corners of the patio four statues represent the four races in the world; also, some sculptures of Latin American thinkers will be taken into consideration.
The sculpture program hewed very closely to the thinking of José Vasconcelos (1882–1959) who, through the whole process of implementation, decided what projects artists would work on in the building. Bitter disagreements surfaced in the later stages of the program but Vasconcelos, from his position as Ministrer of Education (1921–23), dismissed them as childish bickering among artists concerning the size of the sculptures. Vasconcelos worked to promote the project, passing over representatives of the Mexican revolution and appointing Latin American thinkers and poets, regardless of which period or facet of history they chose to portray.