Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The article begins by stating the importance that study-abroad scholarships had for young Argentinean artists, emphasizing in particular the role played by the prize awarded by the Asociación Ver y Estimar [To See and Ponder Magazine Association]. It goes on to devote various paragraphs to the description of the three works nominated for the 1968 edition of the aforementioned prize. Rodolfo Azaro’s submission (the first-prize winner) turns to the “use of industrial materials (aluminum shapes) and elements of daily use (differently shaped stones and even a rubber ball)”. It implies the passage from intellectual concepts towards the sculptural dimension. The work presented by Roberto Plate (Strip of Honor winner), in turn, consisted of a perfect reproduction of the elevators at the Museo de Arte Moderno. The author reads this as “the anti-heroic answer to the ancient conception of sculpture.” Finally, Juan Pablo Renzi (also awarded the Strip of Honor) presented a garden along the same line as Plate’s work (complete with tiles and flowerpots) within the museum space. The article then stops to consider the efforts of other participating artists on the opening day of the exhibition. On that day, Eduardo Ruano burst into the room followed by a group of supporters and torn up an image of former United States president John F. Kennedy. This protest concluded with a police intervention at the museum.

Annotations

This document is a complete report on the three works selected by the jury for the 1968 Ver y Estimar Prize. The latter was one of the institutions for the visibility and sanctioning of the most important new experimental tendencies at work in the renewal of the 1960s Argentinean visual arts. The article ends with an account of how politics burst into the space and disrupted the normal flow of events during Eduardo Ruano’s actions at the opening ceremony for the Ver y Estimar Prize, on April 30, 1968. This action, considered the first step in a series of actions and declarations undertaken by the Argentinean avant-garde during 1968, marks its radical politicization as well as its rupture with artistic institutions. Both the artist (Ruano) and the group of his supporters shouted “Yankees get out of Vietnam!” in the middle of the award toast.  Afterward they turned toward the panel of judges displaying the official image of American president John F. Kennedy— the same image that Ruano had put up in the days preceding—and threw stones at it until they destroyed it. It is important to emphasize that Ruano’s work was not the intact panel, nor what remained of the destroyed image (which was rapidly removed as ordered by the authorities of the Museo de Arte Moderno), but the very act of stoning the image of Kennedy in the middle of an important ceremony within the visual arts milieu. The journey from representation to action is one of the most significant features of the so-called Itinerario del ’68 [Timetable for 1968].

Researcher
Ana Longoni
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Archivo Graciela Carnevale, Rosario, Argentina.