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  • ICAA Record ID
    Mujica Gallo, Manuel, 1906-1972
    Justificación y autocrítica / Manuel Mujica Gallo
    El cubo abierto. -- Lima, Peru: Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo-IAC, 1966.
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays

In September 1966 the IAC (Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo) in Lima celebrated its tenth anniversary with El cubo abierto, an exhibition of works by the Chilean painter Roberto Matta. Manuel Mujica Gallo, the founder and honorary president of the IAC, wrote this assessment of the two five-year periods during which the institution “has rigorously laid the groundwork for the future expansion of its educational mission in order to impact all sectors” of the Peruvian population. The author notes that, in the Lima art milieu, a strict interpretation of culture is slyly “suffocating the noblest and most worthwhile undertakings.” The IAC’s mission in the past decade has been to remind people that there is a radical transformation under way in the art world. After mentioning the most important exhibitions held during his tenure (featuring mainly works by contemporary maestros and pre-Colombian art), Mujica Gallo announces his retirement and proffers his best wishes to the incoming board.      


This essay by Manuel Mujica Gallo, the Peruvian businessman, landowner, and politician, appeared in the catalogue for El cubo abierto, the exhibition of works by the Chilean painter Roberto Matta (1911–2002).


In addition to reviews of the artist’s work, the catalogue for this exhibition included three separate essays—by Manuel Mujica Gallo, Carlos Rodríguez Saavedra, and Manuel Ulloa [see in the ICAA digital archive by Ulloa “IAC” (doc. no. 1141647)]—which summarized the history of the institution and its contributions to the local art scene. The essays outlined the guiding principles that were laid down for the IAC when it was founded (on June 11, 1955) as the successor to the Galería de Lima. Like its predecessor, the IAC played a key role in revitalizing the local art scene and putting it in touch with developments in the cosmopolitan art world through exhibitions of works by Peruvian and foreign artist, conferences, publications, and debates. It also encouraged an aesthetic reappraisal of pre-Columbian art, seen from a modern point of view; the IAC’s first exhibition in fact featured painted textiles from the pre-Hispanic era. The institution attracted a group of intellectuals and private businessmen whose backing helped to support contemporary art in the absence of any government funding. Two years after this catalogue was published, the Juan Velasco Alvarado military coup (1968) put that process on hold. The IAC has currently become active again and is promoting the creation of the MAC (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo) in Lima.

Daniel Contreras Medina
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Archivo Daniel Contreras Medina, Lima, Perú