Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This article publishes statements by sculptors Federico Canessi, Alberto Tamariz, José María Fernández Urbina, and Ignacio Asúnsolo based on the content of a short article published in Extra the previous day. The interviewed artists talk about public commissions of sculpture created by Francisco Zúñiga and Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt at the Centro Médico. In response, the Mexican artists questioned agree that in the case of public works, the selection of artists must be exclusively through competitive bidding to assure “fair competition” and “artistic quality.” They conclude that the House of Representatives should draft laws in this regard.

Annotations

This article set off what was called the “sculptors’ controversy,” in which artists, critics, and authorities in the cultural sphere participated for two months. [The newspapers] Ultimas Noticias [Latest News] and El Universal [The Universal] and the magazine Impacto [Impact] limited themselves to reviewing the ongoing dispute. While the reason for the complaint was the arbitrary selection of artists, it was not long before the dispute turned into a supposed nationalist defense. The nationalist position demanded the exclusion of any artist not born in Mexico, [including] Francisco Zúñiga (1912–1998), a Costa Rican, and Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt (1919–1995), a Colombian. The critic, curator, and cultural promoter Fernando Gamboa was accused of “favoring foreigners” and being a “malinchista, an anti-nationalist,” in his capacity as director of artworks for the Centro Médico and the [Mexican] Pavilion at the Brussels World’s Fair (Expo 1958). In fact, Arenas Betancourt did not participate in either of these.

Researcher
Diana Briuolo : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit

Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional