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Synopsis

This article reports on Eduardo Ruano’s budding artistic career, which was interrupted by his violent political actions at the museum. It also shows that the authorities were mistaken in believing that Ruano’s work was actually the panel that had been installed prior to the opening of the event. It is interesting to note how the journalist in question describes the manner in which the group burst upon the scene (“the column abandoned the building in formation”), which indicates an appropriation of political action techniques that are then used in lieu of aesthetic resources. 

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Primera Plana [Front Page], the weekly news magazine that took the most active role in the modernization of Argentine society and culture in the 1960s, published the account of Eduardo Ruano’s actions at the opening ceremony of the Premio Ver y Estimar [Observe and Ponder Prize] on April 30, 1968. The article includes two photographs, which are the only known pictures of the episode that came to be viewed as the first link in a chain of actions performed by the Argentine avant-garde in 1968, which represent its radical politicization and break with the country’s artistic institutions. Ruano and others burst in on the celebration, shouting “Yanquis, get out of Vietnam!” then turned to the panel with the official portrait of John F. Kennedy, the assassinated American president? which Ruano himself had installed a few days earlier? and stoned it to pieces. It is important to emphasize that Ruano’s work was neither the original panel itself, nor the remains of the destroyed item (which were swiftly removed on the orders of the Museo de Arte Moderno authorities), but rather the actual act of throwing stones at the official portrait of Kennedy during a ceremony that was connected to the field of visual arts. The transition from representation to action is precisely one of the key features of the ’68 agenda mentioned above.

Researcher
Ana Longoni.
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
CeDInCI (Centro de Documentación e Investigación de la Cultura de Izquierdas en Argentina), Buenos Aires, Argentina