Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

[This document is the] warrant to inspect the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [ Visual Arts Center of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute] premises at 936 Florida, Buenos Aires. The official notice reports that obscene inscriptions, offensive both to morality and to good manners, as well as to the highest national authorities, were observed at an art installation—constructed of pressed cardboard panels that represented “public restrooms.” The [notice also confirms] the closure imposed by the Dirección Municipal [Municipal Authority] due to [the installation’s attempt] “atentatorio a los principios elementales de la moral” [“to undermine the fundamental principles of morality”]. The notice also relates the facts so that the Dirección General de Asuntos Legales [Office of Legal Affairs] could determine whether or not it constituted a crime punishable by the law.

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The Premio Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [Torcuato Di Tella Institute Prize] was established in 1960, a few months after the creation of the Centro de Arte del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (ITDT) [The Art Center of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute]. The latter organization 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. In 1967 it became known as the Experiencias Visuales [Visual Practices]. Later, in 1968 and 1969 it became known solely as Experiencias [Practices]. In 1963 Romero Brest resigned as director of the Museo National de Bellas Artes [The National Museum of Fine Arts] and accepted the position of director of the Centro de Artes Visuales of the ITDT. In 1968 the artists Rodolfo Azaro, Oscar Bony, Delia Cancela, Pablo Mesejean, Jorge Carballa, Roberto Jacoby, David Lamelas, Margarita Paksa, Roberto Plate, Pablo Suárez, Juan Stoppani, Antonio Trotta and Alfredo Rodríguez Arias were invited to participate in the Experiencias 68 [The 1968 Practices].

This article documents the motives that compelled the authorities to close the Baño [Bathroom] installation presented by Roberto Plate; it also served as the basis for further legal action.

Researcher
Cristina Rossi
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of Archivo di Tella, Universidad Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Universidad Torcuato Di Tella Buenos Aires, Argentina. Archivos Di Tella.