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This extensive article first appeared in La Gaceta [The Gazette], Tucuman’s most important newspaper, reporting on the first press conference given by the artists upon arriving at Tucumán for their second research trip in October 1968. Accompanied by María Eugenia Aybar, the province’s visual arts official, the group described its background and—in an exceedingly imprecise way—described some of the motives behind its presence there. The artists point out, for instance, that they desire to communicate with the general public and not with the limited audience that ventures into art galleries. In order not to remain isolated, they devised a communications plan through mass media, by means of which they would be taking advantage of reality itself as an aesthetic material.


Tucumán Arde  [Tucumán Is Burning] is the most famous collective production of emerging vanguard art in Argentina, both in Buenos Aires and Rosario, and it took place at the turning point of the artists’ political and artistic radicalization in 1968. Its design implied a complex process of research and counter-information as well as a mass-media campaign. Given the fact that they were an integral part of the investigation, many artists (mostly from Rosario) traveled to Tucumán for a second time in October 1968. It was in that province that, with the support of trade-union members, journalists, and other collaborators, the artists developed an underground registry of work pertaining to the social situation of sugar mills (closed by then), schools, hospitals, and so forth, seeking information that would evidence the official campaign’s deception respecting the so-called Operativo Tucumán. A variety of media was used, including recordings, photographs, and films.

One of the goals of the Tucumán Arde exhibition focused in producing an “overinformational” event in the mass media, which was expected to result in large-scale public repercussions. In that sense, the different mentions and references generated by the successive phases of Tucumán Arde in dailies, general-interest journals, and political publications, both national and international, provide an account of the strategy’s success in reaching the mass media.


According to the participating artists in several interviews, the press conferences in Tucumán were part of their strategy of achieving media presence, although they had no intention of revealing the political dimension of their work.

Ana Longoni.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of Daniel Dessein, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Archivo de Graciela Carnevale, Rosario, Argentina.