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This text suggests that although there is no “Latin American art” as such — that is, art produced by Latin American nations — these countries certainly share a number of “common problems” in terms of the social and political reality of the region, which must inevitably be reflected in their cultural expression. The author considers this perspective as he ponders the viability of “the relative autonomy of art as a semiotic system.” The answer to this question can be found “among the artists presented in this catalogue, whose works are rife with ideological/political content and are still semiotic systems.” Here, then, is where we can find the “opening” proposed by the “new Argentine artistic avant-garde”—the proposal of an “ideological conceptualism…that arises as a result of a regional situation that applies a common methodology to a variety of contexts.”


In 1968, the Centro de Estudios de Arte y Comunicación [Center for Art and Communications Studies (CEAC)] was created, which, shortly after its first public event at the Galería Bonino (August–September 1969), changed its name to Centro de Arte y Comunicación [Art and Communications Center (CayC)]. Always led by Jorge Glusberg as director and theoretician, the CAyC sponsored several different artists throughout its time. In 1971, the Grupo de los Trece [Group of the Thirteen] was created, made up of Jacques Bedel, Luis Benedit, Gregorio Dujovny, Carlos Gizburg, Víctor Grippo, Jorge González Mir, Vicente Marotta, Luís Pazos, Alfredo Portillos, Juan Carlos Romero, Julio Teich, Horacio Zabala, Alberto Pellegrino, and Jorge Glusberg. Later on, some artists moved on while others were included; in 1975, the CayC Group included the participation of Bedel, Benedit, Grippo, Portillos, and Glusberg.

As part of the interdisciplinary action that the CayC intended since inception in 1969 (“Qué es el CEAC” [What is the CEAC], during the Primera Muestra del Centro de Estudios de Arte y Comunicación de la Fundación de Investigación Interdisciplinaria presentada en la Galería Bonino de Buenos Aires, [First Exhibition of the Center of Art and Communication Studies of the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research presented at the Bonino Gallery in Buenos Aires] August–September 1969), the organization of courses and seminars taught by acknowledged intellectuals gets started. Beginning in 1973, with the founding of the Escuela de Altos Estudios [School of Advanced Studies] of the CAyC, this type of activity fell under their scope.

CAyC al Aire Libre [CAyC in the Open Air], or Arte e Ideología, CAyC al Aire Libre [Art and Ideology, CAyC in the Open Air] (Plaza Roberto Arlt, Buenos Aires, September 1972) was one of the three parts of the Arte de Sistemas II [Systems Art II] exhibition that was held in Buenos Aires in September 1972). The other two were Arte de Sistemas Internacional [Systems Art International] (Buenos Aires: Museo de Arte Moderno, September 1972), and Arte de Sistemas Argentina [Systems Art Argentina] (Buenos Aires: Centro de Arte y Comunicación [Art and Communication Center], September 1972). The countries that participated in the international exhibition were Germany, Austria, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Chile, Colombia, Spain, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, England, Israel, Italy, Japan, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Switzerland, Uruguay, and the US. 

The Argentine artists who participated in the events were Jacques Bedel, Luis Benedit, Gregorio Dujovny, Carlos Ginzburg, Jorge Gamarra, Víctor Grippo,  Jorge González Mir, Jorge Glusberg, Vicente L. Marotta, Luis Pazos, Alberto Pellegrino, Hebe Conte, Alfredo Portillos, Juan Carlos Romero, Julio Teich, Horacio Zabala, Beatriz Arraiano, Ricardo Amadasi, Roberto Aizemberg, Juan Bercetche, Cecilia Buyaude, Elda Cerrato, Carlos Claiman, Hebe Conte, Mirtha Dermisache, Jorge Duarte, Roberto Duarte Laferriere, Carlos Espartaco, Mercedes Estevez, Jorge Frascara, Federico Faivre, César Fioravanti, Jorge Gamarra, Nicolás García Uriburu, Haroldo González, the Grupo K-71 [K-71 Group], the Grupo Blanco Espacio Humano [White Human Space Group], Usi Kotler, Eduardo Leonetti, Jorge Lezama, Adalberto Marzano, Oscar Maxera, César Mazzitelli, Arturo Montagu, the Movimiento Música Más [Music More Movement], Moisés Nusimovich, Leonardo Perel, Ricardo Roux, Marta Raffo, Osvaldo Romberg, Nathán Saniewicz, Elsa Soibelman, Jaime Silvera, and Enrique Sardi.  

“Arte de sistemas” was the term coined by Jorge Glusberg to define the various artistic proposals carried out within CAyC’s sphere of influence. According to this definition, a work was understood as a system of signs that could, in turn, refer to a variety of codes: political, ecological, conceptual, and cybernetic, among others. Therefore, above and beyond the myriad meanings suggested by the works, they all had something in common in that each could be classified as a system. This meant that the works could theoretically be either mass produced or multiplied in some way, thus stressing the relevance of the creative process rather than the finished product. 

Natalia Pineau.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Biblioteca del Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.