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This is a letter by Felipe Buendía to the editor of Caretas, a magazine published in Lima, regarding the inauguration of the IAC (Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo) new building. The writer and journalist complains that the institution closed its doors to young artists, “requiring them to wear a tie, have whiter skin, and an invitation.” He attributed this attitude to the disdain of the upper class of the Peruvian capital, differentiating the latter from what he experienced in Europe. He likewise laments that “past glories have been disinterred” for the important occasion, referring to the work of Roberto Matta; and that the coming invitation to an exhibition featuring the work of Rufino Tamayo signals that the public will yet again be prevented from viewing contemporary Peruvian painting. The author denounces this discrimination; in response, Caretas magazine states that Buendía has a point given that only six painters were invited to the opening, although after some friction, others managed to gain entry. In another part, the magazine salutes the growth the IAC achieved through its patrons, and suggests that the institution become more open to friendship.


Founded in 1947, the Galería de Lima led to the establishment of the IAC (Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo) eight years later. From that time onward, the IAC played a key role in revitalizing the art scene, and putting it in contact with cosmopolitan developments, exhibiting national and foreign works, as well as organizing conferences and debates. In September 1966, the IAC inaugurated its new location with El cubo blanco, an exhibition of Chilean painter Roberto Matta (1911–2002). At the opening ceremony, a group of young artists was denied entry, according to two letters written to Caretas magazine by Felipe Buendía. This situation foreshadowed the exclusion of a new generation from the Festival Americano de Pintura, organized by the IAC; this event triggered the formation of the Arte Nuevo group and the radicalization of the experimental avant-garde in Peru.

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