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Taking advantage of the show Menor o igual a Treinta Años. Muestra de Artistas Jóvenes [Thirty years or less. An exhibition from Young Artists] (Buenos Aires: Fundación Banco Patricios, February–March, 1991), López-Anaya analyzes the character of present-day art, which in his opinion presents a “desolate landscape”: “Today they (artistic manifestations) do not have any ethical or social responsibility. Converted into pure self-expression…[where], the interest for moral fundamentals has been replaced by a certain rhetorical liberty and the prone to produce mere unnecessary objects…Just as stated by some artists for which the painting “has no other than surface and color.” Furthermore, the author considers the work of Silvana de la Torre, Marcelo Pombo, Martín Reyna, and Patricia Landen as lacking imagination, since he finds strong parallels between these productions and those from acclaimed international artists. In this sense, he sets apart the figure of Jorge Macchi, “with his paintings and objects brimming with social connotations and spiritual potential.” Also, the originality and the absence of “eclectic stickers” is cause for rescuing Pablo Siquier and Ernesto Ballesteros and furthermore, “with some misgivings,” of Miguel Harte.


Jorge López-Anaya, a historian and art critic with a long career, has written for numerous national and international journals and has published a diversity of books about Argentinean art.

The Fundación Banco Patricios was created in 1984 and became an important exhibition space during the 1990s Buenos Aires. In March 1998, it closed its facilities with the bankruptcy of Banco Patricios.

This document has a special relevance in its dialogue with what was expressed in the Visual Arts Section of the Página/12 daily. On one hand, this newspaper not only rescues, but also promotes, as well as demands places of visibility for “young art,” a category gathered in many of its articles, including artists mentioned by López-Anaya (for example, Marcelo Pombo). On the other hand, López-Anaya believes it is part of the “desolate landscape.”

Another element of critical confrontation that this note brings forth, almost in a literal way, is the one about “connotations” and “non-connotations” of contemporary works of art; as well as the absence of social, ethical, and political concerns. This situation—seen in a pejorative way by López-Anaya—is extolled by others acting in the artistic media of that time. Examples of this are the article by Jorge Gumier-Maier “Avatares del arte” [Art Avatars] (La Hoja del Rojas, year 2; no. 11, June 1989, record 768333), and Fabián Lebenglik’s article “Hasper y Nigro. Dos artistas en el teatro” [Hasper and Nigro. Two Artists in the Stage] (Página/12, August 8, 1989, p.18, record 764302).

Natalia Pineau
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of the personal archives of Manuela López Anaya, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Biblioteca Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina.