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The article reports Herbert Read’s visit to Argentina for the I Bienal America de Arte [1st Latin American Art Biennial], held in Córdoba, at which he would serve as president of the jury. It also tells of his traveling to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires to visit the Torcuato Di Tella collection. On that occasion, he was also asked to state his opinion on the works. Moreover, the story informs us about the lectures given by the critic in other countries, citing fragments of “El Dilema del crítico,” [The Critic’s Dilemma], an article written by Read in 1960 and published in L´Œil [French: The Eye].
In 1958, Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) [a motor car company], headquartered in the province of Córdoba, launches an art dissemination project when it organizes the I Salón IKA [1st IKA Salon]. While IKA limits this first salon to artists from Córdoba, the four subsequent events would extend invitations to several regions other than the capital. In 1961, when it decides to broaden the plan to the national level, IKA organizes a biennial painting competition that would include international participation, which would be called the Bienal Americana de Arte [Latin American Art Biennial] (BAA).On June 26, 1962, the I BAA [1st Latin American Art Biennial] opened at the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Emilio A. Caraffa in Córdoba. The event was directed by Luis M. Varela, with an administrative staff headed by Pedro Pont Vergés. The I BAA jury, with the British art critic Herbert Read presiding, also included José Gómez Sicre, representing the OAS Visual Arts Department. Each of the other jury members represented one of the participating countries: Augusto Borges Rodríguez (Brazil), Luis García Pardo (Uruguay), Antonio Romero (Chile) and Rafael Squirru (Argentina).The main purpose of the BAA was to promote and consolidate Latin American art, improving its position on the international art circuit. At the first Biennial, this aim was supported by the presence on the jury of one critic with the necessary stature on the international art scene: specifically, Herbert Read (1893-1968), the English anarchist, poet, and, literature and art critic.
Read’s visit to Argentina went beyond presiding over the Biennial jury; he also visited the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes to see the display of the Torcuato Di Tella collection. In addition to stating his opinion on that exhibition, he gave a lecture entitled “El anarquismo en la sociedad capitalista” [Anarchism in the Capitalist Society] at the headquarters of the Federación Libertaria Argentina.