chapter  1
86 Pages

Into the Melting Pot

In a controversial text written in June 1986 to commemorate an exhibit, itHispanic Art in the United States: Thirty Contemporary Painters and Sculptors," at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, Octavio Paz, the 1990 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, claimed that Ramirez's pencil-and-crayon drawings are evocations of what Ramirez lived and dreamed during and after the Mexican Revolution. Paz compared the artist to Richard Dadd, a nineteenth-century painter who lost his mind at the end of his life. As Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican novelist and diplomat, claimed in his book The Buried Mirror, the mute painter drew his muteness, making it graphic. And Roger Cardinal, the British author ofFigures ofReality, argued that the artist's achievements should not be minimized as psychotic rambling and categorized him as ita naIf painter." 1b make sense of Ramirez's odyssey, Dr. Pasto concluded that Ramirez's psychological disturbances were the result of a difficult process of adaptation to a foreign culture. Ramirez had left Mexico at a turbulent, riotous time and arrived in a place where everything was unfamiliar and strange to him.