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Luis Camnitzer discusses the New York Graphic Workshop (NYGW) exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes [Museum of Fine Arts] in Caracas in January 1969, musing on the idea of the “museum as device” and, therefore, on the role of the “art object” within that context. He proposes “influencing” that situation as part of the NYGW’s future program by “producing ‘documents’ that function as super-objects”—objects that exist within “an everyday environment that needs no framework of traditional reference.” He thus describes and explains a project he is working on, to be called El New Graphic Workshop en el Banco [The New Graphic Workshop in the Bank].
Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937) was born in Lübbock, Germany; he emmigrated to Uruguay two years later as a result of World War II. He has lived in the United States since 1964. In 1964–65, in New York City, Camnitzer, José Guillermo Castillo (b. 1938) and Liliana Porter (b. 1941) started the New York Graphic Workshop (NYGW), a space where classes were held and other artists’ graphic works were printed. It was also a place where artists gathered to discuss printmaking and its role in contemporary society, which led to a variety of group projects. The workshop closed in about 1970. In 1969, the NYGW was admitted to the Latin American art circuit. According to Camnitzer (see doc. no. 785884), the exhibitions presented at the Museo de Bellas Artes [Museum of Fine Arts] in Caracas, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Chile, and at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, were arranged as part of a strategy to insert Latin American artists into the challenging arena of the New York circuit. But first, of course, they had to be recognized in Latin America. In this essay, published in the catalogue for the Luis Camnitzer. Liliana Porter exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile (June 20–July 6, 1969), Camnitzer mentions the recent NYGW discussions that prompted El New Graphic Workshop en el Banco [The New Graphic Workshop in the Bank]. He says that this latest “exhibition” (May 1–June 30, 1969) involved renting a safety deposit box at Manufacturers Hanover Trust in New York in which to store a number of the group’s original works. The artists produced and circulated announcements to promote the event. Argentine artist Roberto Plate, a host member of the NYGW, also took part in the event.