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    Sobre un episodio de censura : emitió una formal declaración de censura la Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes
    La Opinión (Buenos Aires, Argentina). -- Dic. 5, 1971
    p. 23
    Newspaper article – notes
    Monzón, Hugo. "Sobre un episodio de censura: emitió una formal declaración de censura la Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes." La Opinión (Buenos Aires), December 5, 1971, 23.
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This article explains that the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes [National Academy of Fine Arts] issued a statement in which it acknowledged that artists should be free to create works of art, but cautioned that when works of art are used for political or proselytizing purposes they are subject to the same laws and standards that govern individual and collective activities. The statement went on to “deplore” the fact that the Rules committee of the 2nd Visual Research Contest was not able to determine in advance the standards to which the works should be held in terms of their conceptual expression, as well as the fact that the contest was canceled. The article also includes a public statement concerning the cancelation of the Facio Hebecquer Prize in 1971, when the invited artists decided not to participate, and a rejection of the arguments that were put forward on the grounds that they were unfounded and unjust.  


Argentina’s Salón Nacional de Artes Plásticas [National Salon for the Visual Arts] was founded in 1911, and its regulations were modified over time whenever it was deemed necessary to do so. In 1968 and 1969 the Salón Nacional included the Sección “Investigaciones Visuales” [“Visual Research” Section] in order to provide space for new forms of experimental art (kinetic objects, Pop, etc.) which in turn led to the Certamen Anual de Investigaciones Visuales [Annual Visual Research Contest] in 1970 and 1971. At the II Certamen Nacional de Investigaciones Visuales [2nd National Visual Research Contest], organized during the de facto administration of [President] Alejandro Agustín Lanusse (1971-1973), the authorities censored the works that had been awarded grand runner-up and first prizes. The government used Executive Decree 5696/71 to exclude the prize-winning works from the exhibition and declare them “unacceptable” due to their “manifest ideological intent.” As a result, neither of the jury’s two prizes was awarded. The government’s decision was condemned by artists and by certain cultural organizations, and led to several lawsuits.

La Opinión, the Argentine newspaper founded by Jacobo Timerman in 1971, was critical of the government and its actions. In 1977 it was closed and expropriated by the de facto regime of [President] Jorge Rafael Videla (1976-81). Hugo Monzón was an Argentine art critic in charge of the Visual Arts Section of La Opinión. and the director of the Museo de Artes Plásticas [Museum of Visual Arts] Eduardo Sívori.

The artists who were invited to participate in the Facio Hebecquer Prize were: Eduardo Audivert, Delia Cugat, Julio L. Muñeza, Juan Carlos Romero, Osvaldo Romberg, Daniel Zelaya, Aída Carballo, Albino Fernández, and Abel Bruno Versacci.

This document was chosen because of its coverage of the reaction in cultural circles to the arbitrary decision taken by the authorities in regard to the II Certamen de Investigaciones Visuales in 1971. This document should also be considered in terms of the situation in which the artists involved decided against participating in the Facio Hebecquer Prize, as per the information published in La Opinión newspaper on November 19, 1971.

Cristina Rossi
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of the personal archives of Hugo E. Monzón, Buenos Aires, R. Argentina
Instituto de Historia Argentina y Americana "Dr. Emilio Ravignani".