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In this text—the foreword to the exhibition catalog El Tao del Arte exhibition (Buenos Aires: Centro Cultural Recoleta, May 13–June 8, 1997)—, Jorge Gumier-Maier narrates how the conditions of the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, “a place without history, without any markings, and radically out of the circuit by its characteristics and location,” permitted him, as director of the gallery, total freedom of action. Also, he explains the significance of the El Rojas presenta: Algunos Artistas exhibition (Buenos Aires: Centro Cultural Recoleta, August 26–September 6, 1992); he discusses the adjectives elaborated by the critical discourse when referring to artists that “El Rojas” gathered (“arte light” [light art], “arte guarango” [vulgar art], “arte rosa” [pink art]). He mentions the debates that would develop around the works. Lastly, Gumier-Maier defines his aesthetic posture, making it clear that this exhibition does not aspire to be an anthology of the gallery, but simply a show about those that have displayed their work in its space.

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When it comes to the understanding of the 1990s Argentinean art, the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas stands out as one of its cornerstones. Founded in 1984, it is a cultural extension of the Universidad de Buenos Aires in which various activities, such as courses, conferences, and movie cycles, etc. were developed. Some years after inception, the Galería del Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas was created in 1989 in the entrance hall to the campus, directed by artist and art critic Jorge Gumier-Maier. Magdalena Jitrik joined him shortly thereafter as an assistant.

A fringe space within the Buenos Aires art scene since inception, it began to acquire significant visibility between 1991 and 1992. The artists from “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 be included in the agendas of key exhibition spaces, such as the ICI (Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana), the Centro Cultural de España, and the Galería Ruth Benzacar.

The reference to poetics of the past, such as Pop art, minimalism, Concrete art (under extremely personal reformulations), besides elements of kitsch, have helped to characterize the resources of expression of such artists. Toward the end of the decade, the artists who made up “el grupo del Rojas” were grouped, in a generic manner, as the representatives of the “1990s Argentinean art.”

This document is relevant to the extent that it registers the “voice” of one of the main characters of the Galería del Rojas regarding the background of this space, including the discussions and opinions it generated within the local artistic circles. In this sense, he also accounts for the prominence it acquired by the middle of the 1990s.

On the other hand, El Tao del Arte can be seen as the second and last institutional presentation by the gallery, if we consider El Rojas Presenta: Algunos Artistas as the first. Both of them were exhibited in the Centro Cultural Recoleta, a space with a large public influx and registered with the traditional exhibition circuit.

The fact that, at this time, Gumier-Maier had recently resigned his post as director of the Galería del Rojas, should be considered.

The artists who participated in this exhibition are: Fabián Burgos, Nicolás Guagnini, Jorge Gumier Maier, Graciela Hasper, Fabio Kacero, Omar Schiliro, Pablo Siquier, Sergio Avello, Elba Bairon, Jane Brodie, Fabián Burgos, Feliciano Centurión, Alberto Goldenstein, Sebastián Gordín, Miguel Harte, Agustín Incháusti, Alejandro Kuropatwa, Fernanda Laguna, Benito Laren, Luis Lindner, Alfredo Londaibere, Liliana Maresca, Zaliante Mussetti, Ariadna Patorini, Marcelo Pombo, Cristina Schiavi, and Marcelo Zanelli.

With respect to the “arte light” categories, please see the article by Jorge López-Anaya published by the daily La Nación in August 1, 1992, titled “El absurdo y la ficción en una notable muestra” [The absurd and the fiction in an outstanding exhibition] (record 768308). In reference to the “arte guarango” [vulgar art] category, please see the article by Pierre Restany published by the journal Lápiz (Madrid), in November 1995 (record 769571).

Please see, in relation to this exhibition, the articles by Marcelo E. Pacheco titled “Arte por el arte. Una retrospectiva en el Centro Cultural Recoleta recupera el arte que pasó por el Rojas en los últimos siete años” [Art for Art. A retrospective in the Centro Cultural Recoleta recovers the art that went through El Rojas in the last seven years] (record 769532) and “Polémica Zen” (record 769552); and the text by Jorge Gumier-Maier “El Tao del arte” (record 769369), all published in Magazín Literario, number 0, Buenos Aires, June 1997.

Researcher
Natalia Pineau.
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of Jorge Gumier Maier, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Archivo personal de Marcelo Pacheco.