Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

In this apocryphal newspaper article, the author relies on a number of the standard stereotypes that were used in the Argentine press at that time to refer to experimental art: snobbishness, frivolousness, madness, partying, irrationality, gratuitousness, fads and fashions, and so on. The article also names several well-known intellectuals, writers, artists, dancers, psychoanalysts, humorists, etc., who, by means of their complicity, agreed to “endorse” the false report that set the anti-happening in motion. 


Among the Argentine avant-garde who experimented with mass-communication media, it is interesting to note the work of a core group of artists and theoreticians: Eduardo Costa (1940-), Roberto Jacoby (1944-), and Raúl Escari. This group’s founding manifesto is now recognized as a crucial document concerning the beginning of conceptual art, not just in Argentina but in the whole world. In 1966 they proposed the creation of a “new genre” which they called “Art for mass-communication media.” Their first work, known as El antihappening [The Anti-happening] consisted of inventing an event that would be reported in the major media. Based on the idea that the media create events (which was quite an advanced concept for the period), the participants in this project used news items, rigged photos, and apocryphal testimonials to report on a happening that never actually happened. Several media published the report of the event, which was eventually denied by the group. This article, which was published in a relevant literary magazine directed by Abelardo Castillo, reports on the extent to which false information is disseminated across a wide variety of media.

Ana Longoni.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Archivo Roberto Jacoby, Buenos Aires, Argentina.