The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This text summarizes the concepts presented by Jorge Romero Brest in relation to both the sociology and ontology of the new art. In order to pose the sociological question it appeals to David Riesman’s book titled La muchedumbre solitaria [The Solitary Crowd], revising the idea of “aceptación de la sociedad” [the acceptance of society] in which different groups reside. With respect to the ontological [a reasoned argument that God exists] questions, the critic maintains the existentialist notion linked to being in the world known as “ser tiempo” [being time].
Jorge Romero Brest (1905-1989) was a professor, critic, and promoter of the visual arts in Argentina. During the regime of Juan Domingo Perón (1895-1974) he was relieved of his academic duties and became the director of Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder] magazine. Later on, the de facto government that overthrew Perón on September 16, 1955, which called itself the Revolución Libertadora, named Romero Brest the administrator of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes [The National Museum of Fine Arts] of Buenos Aires. In 1956 he became the director of the Museum, a post he held until 1963. During the 1960s, he directed the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [Torcuato Di Tella Institute’s Center for Visual Arts]. The Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder] editorial project was undertaken with the support of his students as an offshoot of the art history classes that Brest taught after being removed from his position as professor during the Peronist regime.
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 [The Art Center of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute] (ITDT). 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 revival 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 [National Museum of Fine Arts] and accepted the position of director of the Centro de Artes Visuales [Center of Visual Arts] of the ITDT. In 1966, the Premio ITDT was solely National in scope. La Menesunda [Hodgepodge] was an exhibition based on a project [conceived] by Marta Minujín 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 Romero Brest's relationship with the public within the framework of the controversies unleashed by the Torcuato Di Tella competitions; especially, the debates brought forth the previous year with La Menesunda, a work presented before the ITDT prize. During this conference, the critic [Romero Brest] speaks at length about the aspects linked to sociology and ontology that were previously outlined in the conference of October 5, 1966.