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.
This document, the flier handed out by the visual artists who, in August 1963, occupied the city of Montevideo’s Subte exhibition space, contains ideological developments of a local and an international nature. It recognizes the importance of forming part of a circuit that heeds “the national” in art, while also upholding certain international platforms that, on the basis of the work of the occupying artists, support the primary international media which, in this flyer, are called “present-day art.”
In August 1963, a group of visual artists occupied an exhibition venue in Montevideo in a measure that received a great deal of attention from the local press; the artists involved used a number of outreach strategies such as press releases, seeking support from other cultural unions, making posters, pamphlets, and so forth. While initially a way of protesting a conservative jury named by political authorities, the occupation gradually gave shape to a movement—the first activist conglomeration of all artistic disciplines. Most of the flyers made use of the same format: repeated messages in an informational box that mutated towards the middle. Two or three principles were upheld as a platform throughout the conflict: the need, due to artistic and civic concerns, to inform the public of the artists’ anti-government position; and a stance in favor of art committed to “the present-day.” Despite that emphasis on the present, which was evident in ideological and artistic ties to international movements, the occupying artists never lost sight of “local situations.” Many of them had been awarded prizes and other distinctions abroad, and felt they had not received similar recognition in their own country. They sought support abroad while mocking a pro-government local art jury that they deemed unqualified to assess their work. The “rebel” artists were abreast of what was happening in international art, which had little to do with state-sponsored amateurism. [For further reading, see the following texts in the ICAA digital archive: (author unknown) “Subte ocupado. Pobres jurados y falsas oposiciones” (doc. no. 1230861); by the editor of the Grupo Toledo Chico “El XV Salón Municipal de Artes Plásticas” (doc. no. 1193049); and by Germán Cabrera et. al. “La ocupación del Subte” (doc. no. 1230840)].