Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This article is critical of the nature of contemporary art in Buenos Aires, referring specifically to the formal aspect of artworks, the roots of creative inspiration such as social or political issues, and the scope in terms of reception, among other features. Taking the opposite point of view, the writer proposes “A shift in artistic imagination. Re-thinking the limits of art . . . a practice that is considered (creative) work, more ‘focusing’ [cope] than morbid passion, associated with the idea of enjoyment, closer to the craft than to creation, with more ingenuity than subjective expression. A re-thinking that sees art on the verge of being a spectacle.” He goes on to say that “visually speaking, the best” parts of the latest Young Art Biennial were the fashion shows and the Certamen con el Arte en el Cuerpo [Contest of Body Art], organized the by conceptual artist Roberto Jacoby, at the Palladium disco.    

Annotations

The Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas was a very important place in Argentine art circles during the 1990s. It was founded in 1984 as a cultural extension of the University of Buenos Aires, a place to organize activities such as classes, talks, film showings, and so on. A few years later, in 1989, the Galería del Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas was opened in the entrance hall, under the direction of the artist and art critic Jorge Gumier Maier, who was soon joined by Magdalena Jitrik.    

Beginning as a space on the fringes of the Buenos Aires art scene, the Centro Cultural gained considerable visibility in 1991–92. The artists involved in “el Rojas” (Fabián Burgos, Graciela Hasper, Feliciano Centurión, Martín Di Girolamo, Alberto Goldestein, Sebastián Gordín, Miguel Harte, Agustín Inchausti, Luis Lindner, Nuna Magiante, Emiliano Miliyo, Esteban Pagés, Ariadna Pastorini, Marcelo Pombo, Cristina Schiavi, Enrique Marmora, Sergio Vila, Benito Laren, Omar Schiliro, Alfredo Londaibere, and Liliana Maresca, among many others) began to receive invitations to show their work in key spaces such as either the ICI (Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana) [Iberian-American Cooperation Institute], the Centro Cultural de España [Cultural Center of Spain], or Galería Ruth Benzacar. 

Their references to the poetics of the past—including Pop, minimalism, and concrete art (reformulated into very personal expressions), with a nod to kitsch—have emerged as their defining traits. In the late 1990s the artists involved in “the Rojas group” were considered to be the representatives of Argentine art of the 1990s. 

This essay by Gumier Maier is extremely significant because it was written for the opening of the “el Rojas” gallery and is, therefore the “founding manifesto” of the new space.

Researcher
Natalia Pineau.
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of Jorge Gumier Maier, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina.