Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Margarita Nelken describes the Second Biennial for Young Artists, in Paris, and the exhibition of the Los hartos [Fed Up] group in the Galería Antonio Souza in Mexico City as the end of one era and the beginning of another. The Los hartos “exhibition” was a vitriolic protest against the woeful technique and lack of imagination of the works presented at the Second Biennial and accepted by organizers and a general public too timid to reject them. If we cannot turn back to the old methods of artistic creation, it is also unacceptable to present works like those in the Second Biennial—canvases with a few splashes of paint here and there, decorated with bits and pieces of odd materials, works that seek inspiration from an exhausted vein of creativity and lack any shred of innovation. Nelken concludes that if the lineup of artists such as Mathias Goeritz, José Luis Cuevas, Jesús Reyes Ferreira, and Pedro Friedeberg in the Los hartos exhibition includes “Inocencia”—a chicken that laid a seventy-cent egg—that is simply the outer limit of the acceptable. Beyond that lies the yawning divide between joking in the guise of creation or, once again, an acceptance of creation as a way of transmitting a message of sensibility and the daily toil of the artist and all that that entails. Nelken argues that people are fed up with the futility that has become the status quo, and the satirical humor of the Los hartos group should be seen as the end of that particular line.    

Annotations

In her article, Margarita Nelken (1896-1968) set parameters for working artists, for organizers of Biennials and exhibitions, and of course for interested members of the public, and called for a new era of creativity in art. On the one hand, the Second Paris Biennial for Young Artists revealed the bankruptcy of artistic instruction; on the other, the Los hartos exhibition showed the limits to which artists could go. Nelken recommends that artists once again devote themselves to a daily routine of serious, committed experimentation and work.

Researcher
Ana María Rodríguez
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Margarita Salas de Paúl, Mexico City, Mexico
Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional / Hemeroteca Nacional