Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The text analyzes the happenings that took place at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [The Torcuato De Tella Institute] as an “exhibitionist neurosis.” It likewise makes reference to similar activities held during the same period at the Segundo Festival de la Expresión Libre de París [Second Festival of Free Expression in Paris], emphasizing the role played by Jorge Romero Brest in support of that trend. It also includes commentaries on a few critics that spoke out against the happenings.

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The Premio Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [The Torcuato De Tella Institute Prize] was established in 1960, a few months after the creation of the Centro de Arte del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (ITDT) [Art Center of the Institute Torcuato Di Tella]. The Centro was run by a board composed of Lionello Venturi, Ricardo Camino, Guido Di Tella and Jorge Romero Brest. The Centro was dedicated to the dissemination and promotion of the visual arts as well as to maintaining contact with other centers linked to national and foreign production. The Premio ITDT was created within this framework with the intention of awarding opportunities to young Argentinean artists to enrich their experiences abroad. The Premio ITDT not only awarded prizes/scholarships, but also favored the dissemination of international art within the local scene. This made it an important institution for the renaissance of the visual arts at the time. The prize was awarded to both national and international artists until 1967, with a few variations according to the given year. Afterwards it became known as the Experiencias Visuales 1968 [The 1968 Practices] and Experiencias 1969 [The 1969 Practices]. In 1963 Romero Brest resigned as director of the Museo National de Bellas Artes [National Museum of Fine Arts] and accepted the position of director of the Centro de Artes Visuales of the ITDT.

La Menesunda [Hodgepodge] was based on a project [conceived] by Marta Minujin and Rubén Santantonín, with the collaboration of Pablo Suárez, David Lamelas, Rodolfo Prayón, Floreal Amor and Leopoldo Maler. It took place from May 18 to June 6, 1965. It was composed of various environments that produced different situations: a half-lit room, a dark chamber, a glass capsule with rain made of torn paper, a cold vault, etc. It was conceived within the spirit of ¡Revuélquese y viva! [Roll Around and Live!], a work acquired by the ITDT from Minujín in 1964. La Menesunda attracted attention; it also allowed for a consideration of the controversies stirred up by Pop Art in Argentina.

This article was selected because it documents the repercussions of the activities undertaken by the Institute Torcuato Di Tella of Buenos Aires; especially in relation to the alternatives raised by La Menesunda and its particular relation to the public.

Researcher
Cristina Rossi
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Universidad Torcuato Di Tella Buenos Aires, Argentina. Archivos Di Tella.