Architecture as Revolution: Episodes in the History of Modern Mexico

By Luis E. Carranza | Go to book overview

NOTES

INDRODUCTION

1. These dates roughly frame a generally liberal and stable political environment—after the armed conflicts of the Revolution—that began with the presidency of Álvaro Obregón in 1920 and ended with the completion of Mexico’s most liberal presidency, that of Lázaro Cárdenas, in 1940. Carlos Obregón Santacilia, in a speech defining the architecture resulting from the Revolution, suggested that with his Monument to the Revolution (1938) one “can end the discussion of the topic at hand; what was made afterwards is a logical evolution of architecture in Mexico that will continue to oscillate between traditionalism and the international movement.” Carlos Obregón Santacilia, “La Revolución Mexicana y la arquitectura,” in Carlos Obregón Santacilia: Pionero de la arquitectura mexicana, Victor Jiménez (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes [hereafter INBA], 2001), 203.

2. Néstor García Canclini, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity, trans. Christopher L. Chiappari and Silvia L. López (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 41. All translations, unless otherwise noted, are mine.

3. In Frederick C. Turner, The Dynamic of Mexican Nationalism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 292.

4. Ángel Rama, Trasculturación narrativa en América Latina (Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1982), 39.

5. This group included among its members Alfonso Reyes, José Vasconcelos, Enrique González Martínez, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Saturnino Herrán, and Diego Rivera.

6. Los Siete Sabios were Antonio Castro Leal, Alberto Vásquez del Mercado, Vicente Lombardo Toledano, Teófilo Olea y Leyva, Alfonso Caso, Manuel Gómez Morín, and Jesús Moreno Baca.

7. This is similar to the position outlined by J. L. Sert, F. Leger, and S. Giedion in their “Nine Points on Monumentality” (1943).

8. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in his Illuminations (New York: Schocken Books, 1968), 242.

9. Arnaldo Córdova, La ideología de la revolución mexicana: La formación del nuevo régimen (Mexico City: Ediciones Era, 1973), 24.

10. Antonio Negri, “Keynes and the Capitalist Theory of the State,” in Labor of Dionysus: A Critique of State Form, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), 29.

11. Ibid., 45.

12. Manfredo Tafuri, Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1976), 61; emphasis in original.

13. Alberto Asor Rosa, “Lavoro intellettuale e utopia dell’ avanguardia nel paese del socialismo realizzato,” in Socialismo, Città, Architettura: URSS 1917–1937: Il Contributo degli Architetti Europei, Alberto Asor Rosa (Rome: Officina Edizioni, 1972), 221.

14. Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), especially 35–54.

15. “Ideologies always act ‘in bunches’; they intertwine among themselves; they often make complete about-faces in their historical unfolding.” Manfredo Tafuri, “The Historical Project” in his The Sphere and the Labyrinth: Avant-Gardes and Architecture from Piranesi to the 1970s (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987), 17.

16. Tafuri, Architecture and Utopia, 1.

17. Here I base my use and consideration of “tactics” on Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), xviii–xx, 34–42.

18. This is represented in architecture, for example, by Israel Katzman’s authoritative Arquitectura contemporánea mexicana (Mexico City: INAH, 1964).


CHAPTER 1

This chapter is dedicated to the memory of Ernest Pascucci.

1. On the presence of Vasconcelos’ antiSemitism in his later writings, in particular his autobiography, see Noé Jitrik, “Lectura de Vasconcelos,” Nuevo Texto Crítico 1, no. 2 (Second Semester 1988): 280–283.

2. In many instances one can gauge Vasconcelos’ political position: he has been defined mainly as a liberal, Marxist (or at least socialist) intellectual. See, for example, Alfonso Taracena, José Vasconcelos (Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1990), 21–33; José Joaquín Blanco, Se llamaba Vasconcelos: Una evocación crítica (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1977), 97ff. Vasconcelos defined himself as a sincere follower of scientific and humanist socialism; Vasconcelos, “Indología: Una interpretacíon de la cultura iberoamericana (1926),” in his José Vasconcelos: Textos sobre educación (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1981), 202. We can see this political position most clearly in “Carta abierta a los obreros del Estado de Jalisco,” 226–228, and “Conferencia leida en el ‘Continental Memorial Hall’ de Washington,” especially 301–304, both also in José Vasconcelos: Textos sobre educación; and “Carta del licenciado José Vasconcelos, leida en

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