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.
Puerto Rican curator and art historian Marimar Benítez explains the connections among the books that Marta Traba wrote during her stay in Puerto Rico: Propuesta polémica sobre arte puertorriqueño [Polemic Proposal on Puerto Rican Art] (San Juan: Ediciones Librería Internacional, 1971), La rebelión de los santos [The Rebellion of the Santos] (San Juan: Ediciones Puerto, 1972), and En el umbral del arte moderno: Velázquez, Zurbarán, Goya y Picasso [At the Threshold of Modern Art: Velázquez, Zurbarán, Goya, and Picasso] (Río Piedras: Editorial Universitaria, Colección UPREX, 1973). In Benítez’s view, Traba develops her philosophy of art in these books and provides parallel observations of Puerto Rican art and society. Of these books, Propuesta Polémica was the one that had the greatest impact. In it, Traba develops her thesis on the “culture of resistance,” which gave rise to considerable controversy. She argues that resistance to assimilation mark genuine art.
Marta Traba (1930–1983) published a substantial number of articles in the various countries where she lived. When she arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she had previously lived in Bogota, New York, Paris, and Buenos Aires. From August 1970 through the summer of 1971, the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras engaged her to teach a course on Latin American art as well as the obligatory courses on the General Theory of Art History (201) and the History of Modern Art (213), among others, in the department of fine arts. In the summer of 1971, she taught a class on aesthetics. At the end of the summer, the University did not renew her contract. While she was living in Puerto Rico, Traba wrote books, and many newspaper and magazine articles, in which she expressed her views on Puerto Rican art, which prompted considerable response and criticism in art circles.