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.
In this text, Marta Traba rejects the notion that Latin American art exists as a distinct form of expression. She begins her essay by explaining that the global culture generated by the industrialized nations move within certain established frameworks. She further explains that consumerism has robbed art of its “specificity and its representative character.” Traba blames the avant-garde, going so far as to say that the avant-garde itself has promoted “entertainment” to the “manipulating elite.” Traba argues that Latin American artists are of no importance whatsoever to this global culture and that—in order to be counted by the Western world—they must “fuse totally with a European project.” Traba asserts that contemporary Latin American artists deal with this issue in one of two ways: the first, by placing distance between themselves and the project; and the second, by “seeking to coincide mimetically” with the project. The former group is described by Traba as the culture of resistance, who argues that this group should return to a figurative art that reconnects with their regional surroundings and uses art as language. Traba asserts that Latin American societies are largely underdeveloped and that this global art aimed to delay the formation of a national identity. At the same time, she further objects to the avant-gardists, describing them as terroristic and deceptive, stating that the art of the resistance both “fulfills an epistemological function and offers a political service.”