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    Espíritu renovador : exposición del Grupo "Arte Nuevo" / Por J.A.
    El Comercio (Lima, Perú). -- Nov. 9, 1966
    Newspaper article – Essays
    Acha, Juan. "Espíritu renovador : exposición del Grupo "Arte Nuevo." El Comercio (Lima, Perú), November 9, 1966.

In his review of the exhibition of works by the Arte Nuevo group at MALI (Museo de Arte de Lima) in November 1966, Juan Acha states that the first thing a visitor becomes aware of is “the presence of a spirit of renewal.” But he clarifies that he does not mean that in the sense of “international terms,” but in the sense of “a renewal of our local art environment.” In his opinion, the group formulates “concise and elementary aesthetic-visual problems” that contradict the “endemic romanticism that is so addicted to intuitionist and autobiographical lyrical expression” that one finds everywhere in Peru. The author is delighted with the diversity and up-to-date feel of the works (painting, sculptures, and Op and Pop objects) and applauds the support received by the organizing entities.  


The Peruvian critic Juan Acha (1916–95), who lived in Mexico, was one of the main promoters of the Peruvian artistic avant-garde in the mid-1960s. In his articles, essays, and newspaper reviews he was both a theoretical champion for Pop and Op-Art and a supporter for the young artists in those movements that represented the developmental ideology of the period.


As a result of the interest stirred up in October 1966 by the first exhibition organized by the Grupo Arte Nuevo—one of the first groups in the Peruvian avant-garde—their works were installed in the prestigious MALI (Museo de Arte de Lima). When their works were presented under MALI’s institutional umbrella, the members of Arte Nuevo took advantage of the situation to publish this programmatic statement in the exhibition catalogue.   


The following artists were originally members of the Grupo Señal and went on to form the Arte Nuevo group: Luis Arias Vera (1932–2016), Gloria Gómez-Sánchez (1921–2007), Teresa Burga (b. 1935), Jaime Dávila (b. 1937), Víctor Delfín (b. 1927), Emilio Hernández Saavedra (b. 1940), José Tang (1941–2006), Armando Varela (b. 1933), and Luis Zevallos Hetzel (b. 1933). They started out by installing their works of art in an abandoned illuminated sign store in the historical center of Lima—just a few meters from the Plaza Mayor and the government palace—which they transformed into an improvised gallery they called El ombligo de Adán. This exhibition, which included plenty of Pop Art, Op Art, and environmental installations, was an important step for new Peruvian art movements, especially in terms of its challenge to so-called “traditional” art.


[On the subject of the Grupo Arte Nuevo, see the following articles in the ICAA digital archive: by Luis Freire “De cómo el Gral. Velasco reventó el ‘¡Pop! Art’” (doc. no. 1139323); (anonymous) “Exagerado sentido realista: Exposición de Luis Arias Vera” (doc. no. 1142510); by Mario Belaúnde Guinassi (under the pseudonym “Juan Gris”) “La nueva imagen del IAC” (doc. no. 1142594) and “La pintura se fue a la feria: happening vs ‘bienal’” (doc. no. 1142737); by Felipe Buendía “Mala noche de Buendía” (doc. no. 1142628) and “Resentido social” (doc. no. 1142644); by the Grupo Arte Nuevo (untitled) [“Nos encontramos en un mundo determinado...”] (doc. no. 1142834); (anonymous) “Op-Pop-Sex” (doc. no. 1142804); and (anonymous) “Treinta minutos de charla con la señora Gloria Benvenuto de Gómez Sánchez, nuevo valor de la Pintura Nacional” (doc. no. 1142413)].

Daniel Contreras Medina
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Courtesy of the personal archive of Mtra. Mahia Biblos, Mexico City, Mexico