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On the occasion of the first Inter-American Biennial of Painting and Printmaking, Miguel Salas Anzures, chair of the Visual Arts Department of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), interviewed the art collectors Inés Amor and Dr. Alvar Carrillo Gil about the event. Carrillo Gil complained about the organization; he was surprised that Mexico was to cover the packing and shipping costs for all the invited countries. He also detected an opportunistic spirit among the organizers of the exhibition who, in previous years, hadn’t done anything and now, as they were on their way out, had invented a biennial on which to waste money. Carrillo Gil questioned the criteria used for selecting the participants because he considered the cultural officials involved incapable of holding an impartial selection process. For these reasons, the collector felt that the biennial was doomed to failure.


Alvaro Carrillo Gil was born in the Yucatan and was a pediatrician. As his economic situation improved he began to spend time traveling and learning about the art of other nations, and also began collecting works. During the last years of the Lázaro Cárdenas administration (1934–40), Carrillo Gil acquired his first pieces, but during the presidencies of Manuel Ávila Camacho (1940–46) and Miguel Alemán Valdés (1946–52), his collection grew. During the time Víctor M. Reyes served as the head of the Visual Arts Department of the INBA, there was a more open attitude regarding private collecting, and Carrillo Gil benefitted from this, as he was given the opportunity to present his collection at state-owned venues. This collaboration, however, ended with the resignation of Reyes, who was a friend of Carrillo Gil. Perhaps Carrillo Gil found fault with the organization of the biennial for this reason. He also complained quite bitterly about Mexico’s cultural policies, believing that public officials wasted taxpayers’ money to organize mediocre exhibitions. He did not feel they were capable of organizing and executing a biennial, mostly due to their lack of knowledge about art.

Ana María Torres : CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Carrillo Gil family , Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional