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.
Jorge Glusberg’s open letter clarifies that, when Francisco Matarazzo invited him to organize “Arte como Idea [Art as an Idea” and “Arte Cibernético [Cybernetic Art]” at the Eleventh São Paulo Biennial (1971), he had some initial doubts based on what had already happened in 1969 but eventually decided that the biennial had the potential to be a positive event. Glusberg also says that the artists he consulted with were originally in agreement. Soon, however, they were telling him that they had decided not to participate, and he also received a group letter signed by Gordon Matta urging them not to follow through with the plan. Glusberg admits to being in agreement with Matta’s ideological position, although he believed it might be preferable to go to Brazil for a face-to-face conversation with the artists who were living under the repressive conditions imposed by the dictatorship. In any case, faced with the reasons for the boycott, Glusberg decided to cancel his involvement in the event.
It is important to remember that, ever since it was started in 1951, the São Paulo Biennial was a focal point both for the circulation of art and for its establishment in Latin America. This letter was published in a book titled Contrabienal [Anti-Biennial] that was designed and printed by a group that included Luis Wells, Luis Camnitzer, Carla Stellweg, Liliana Porter, and Teodoro Maus, in which they outlined their opposition to the Brazilian biennial (so-called “the Biennale of the dictatorship”). Because Brazil, like many other Latin American countries during the 1970s, was under the iron rule of censorship, repression, and torture, this material identifies one of the strategies used by artists to resist the imposition of any form of dictatorial policies. Jorge Glusberg (1937) is an Argentinean engineer and art critic. In the late 1960s he founded the Centro de Arte y Comunicación [Art and Communication Center] (CAyC); later , between 1994 and 2003, he was both Director of the Comité Internacional de Críticos de Arquitectura [International Committee of Architectural Critics] and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. This document clarifies Glusberg’s position vis-à-vis the São Paulo Biennial’s complicated situation given the atmosphere of censorship and repression that permeated Brazil during the time of military dictatorship (1964-85). It is especially interesting to note the connection between this letter and Gordon Matta’s article, dated May 19, 1971.