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 text is the manifesto of Latin American art issued by the Sindicato Uruguayo de Artistas Plásticos (SUAP) in 1991, after the Primer Congreso de Arte Hispanoamericano held in La Paz, Bolivia. It addresses issues facing the region as a whole, mainly the difficulties and inequalities resulting from globalization and the concentration of power in world economic centers. That situation has generally held back Latin America, but particularly the ability of the region to develop art that is both specific and plural.
During the eighties, Uruguay went through a period of transition to democracy after twelve years of repressive military rule. Although democracy was not restored until 1985, the period is considered to have begun in 1980 and continued until 1984. In the art world, it was necessary to form a collective with a specific set of aims in the new political framework. Students, artists, and art critics were mobilized, proposing workshops and demanding both the dismantling of the repressive forces and public education based on democratic values. It was during the eighties that the Sindicato Uruguayo de Artistas Plásticos (SUAP) was formed. The organization first met at a location provided by the Conventual Franciscans; later, once it was constituted as a union with its own bylaws, it met in the offices of the Asociación de Empleados Bancarios del Uruguay (AEBU). At its height, the SUAP had about 350 members around the country; it included artists working in different techniques and with different political orientations, although a great many were members of the Uruguayan Communist Party. The SUAP took part in a number of cultural activities in support of social justice and human rights; it participated in urban interventions and mural and sculpture projects, where all forms of artistic expression, regardless of support, were treated equal. Almost all of the artists who had taken part in the Unión de Artistas Plásticos Contemporáneos (UAPC), created in 1964 and disbanded by the military dictatorship in 1973, joined the SUAP—artists such as Octavio Podestá, Hilda López, Osvaldo Paz, César Rodríguez Musmanno, Carlos Caffera and Ernesto Aroztegui, who had remained in the country during the dictatorship. The SUAP also included a younger generation of artists. In the mid-nineties, the organization began to decline due to external causes, mainly the ideological crisis on the left in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. This document addresses the new rules of the capitalist market and the negative effects of globalization on local and regional artistic production.