Marzana, Mario. “A todo el personal del Insituto Torcuato di Tella,” 1968. Memorandum. Archivos Di Tella, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires.
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In his function as the Secretary General of the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [Torcuato Di Tella Institute], Mario T. Marzana, communicates to the aforementioned institution’s personnel the proceedings that led to the closure of Roberto Plate’s work Baño [Bathroom]. He also reports that municipal officers and the authorities from the Comisaría XV [Police Station XV] were present at the closure.
The Premio Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [Torcuato Di Tella Institute Award] was established in1960, a few months after the creation of the Centro de Arte del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (ITDT) [The Art Center at 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 renovation 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]. Roberto Plate’s work Baño [Bathroom] simulated a public restroom for men and women; visitors could write graffiti on the walls within. Given that the authorities closed the installation, the artists participating in the Experiencias 68 decided to withdraw and—together with other artists—signed a declaration against the measure. This article documents the notification of the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella’s personnel concerning the police action that took place; it explains it as a “preventative closure” of Plate’s installation. It is interesting to observe the explanation of the various occasions in which they had attempted to eliminate the previous days’ inscriptions which had been written by the public spontaneously.