Raúl Anguiano contributions to mexican art.
Carlos Blas Galindo
First I wrote about Raul Anguiano in 1990, as a special request by my father, they were contemporary friends from the same village and at that time members of the Academy of Arts, where at least once a month they met.
Anguiano knew I was a columnist in the cultural section of the newspaper El Financiero, usually writing critical articles about plastic and visual arts or cultural policies of the government. By that time, Anguiano was waiting for an exhibition date from the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), under the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), Teresa del Conde recently appointed, had refused to comply with the institutional commitment by the previous director, Oscar Urrutia.
I do not know if Raul Anguiano had any clue about my relationship with Del Conde and if he imagined that I could have influence in the decision making, but the truth is that I dedicated one of my columns to him. I explained that such a negative determination among preferences and phobias of MAM director, was the lack of a defined and explicit cultural policy that remained until these days (that does not mean there is no cultural policy by itself) although there is no clarity inside the INBA on what they called "museum vocation" .
The MAM had and still have the responsibility of conservation and exhibiting Mexican Plastic Art production from the 30's. Nevertheless at the opening there was a Jose Maria Velasco Room with paintings dated before 1930 and some international contemporary art.
Aware of this, Del Conde reserved her right to select the exhibitions of local artists that were part of the second wave of neovanguardistas, born in the 1950s and began their careers in the 1970s (my contemporaries). Anguiano as a representative of this generation was sure to have met these requirements to be an exhibitor at the museum.
Thanks to this personal behavior, the "vocation" of MAM change the main rules, which had no relationship with the art of national trend or the non-Mexican Western contemporary art.
The MAM basic orientation was already changed by that time, for example about ten years earlier an exhibition of “San Marcos horses” was presented (refering to the four horses from the facade of the Basilica of San Marcos in Venice, Italy), showing classic master pieces from different era without any relationship with the Mexican modern art or with occidental contemporary art.
Even now, with the Raul Anguiano birth centenary, and after 15 years have already passed, the situation in terms of public sector policies on artistic culture hasn’t changed at all.
Such policies are not clear and specific. They don’t even know how to handle them. In fact you will notice by their action and not by the rethoric of the national development plan, the guidelines of cultural policy concerning the plastic art visual concept.
The conclusion is that the governmental sector used global mainstream concepts, in order to have in our country a parallel internal mainstream compared to western; however, there are no records in any of the official documents of such sub culture.
What they really proclaime in the governmental plans is to keep and to promote the national artistic heritage. However, it still is a matter of their own choice. Even if they have Raul Anguiano’s work in public collections that are under government custody in turn, any public official may decide not to show that part of our cultural heritage.
Teresa del Conde took a decision 15 years ago. Does this decision would affect Raul Anguiano´s contributions to the Mexican artistic culture? No. Definitely not.
The nonsense of those who now hold public positions in the culture sector and misjudge the importance of the centenary of Anguiano´s birth, makes a difference in the artistic value of the work production of this author? No. Not at all.
Which ones are Anguiano’s main contributions to our cultural heritage?
The most important fact was the strong demonstration of continuity for very long time in the Mexican avant garde art movement in the twentieth century.
Another, no less important, was to prove the internal style and thematic diversity of that leading art group. As a leading representative he formally complied like an author or lecturer, with different modern concepts and humanity. Based on progressive and utopic ideas, with professionalism based on the search of originality, with a collectivist affiliation and strong conviction.
As avant-garde in the 30s of the last century he was a nationalist based on originality and identity exaltation. Some years later he joined liberalist ideals in a world and a country where everyone believed in the fascism victory. Once the Nazi historical threat dissipated, he devoted to different technical possibilities of drawing, enamel, graphic, painting (on mural painting and portable formats), textiles and volume, as well as different iconography and portraits.
After my 1990 written article I followed the artistic production of Raul Anguiano on several occasions. And now, 100 years after his birth, once again I want to dedicate these lines with the main purpose to have a proper recognition of his extensive work.