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The text states that on December 23, 1968, the French newspaper Nouvel Observateur reported that the artists selected by art critic Gérard Gassiot-Talabot had declined to participate because of the French political situation several months after the events of May 1968. Their refusal was related to their concern for freedom of expression and the rights of foreigners in France; as such, they were unable to represent the current government at an international biennale (like that of São Paulo), as it was organized along the outdated basis of national representation. This brief history of the selection includes the designation of a new curator, the critic Yvon Taillandier, who immediately selected another seven artists without even taking into account the professional sacrifice of those artists who believed it was necessary for them to make a decision that would express their hostility toward the Brazilian biennale.


From its founding in 1951, the Bienal de São Paulo was a fundamental event in the establishment and dissemination of art in Latin America. Given the Brazilian dictatorship that had resulted from the coup d’état of March 1964, different groups of artists decided to boycott the Tenth São Paulo Biennial that would be held in September 1969.

The organization to boycott the event, which had begun in France (Non à la biennale), was led by Pierre Restany (1930-2003), the French critic who supported New Realism; Restany also collaborated on the Milan magazine Domus and presided over the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris. He was an intellectual who was always interested in contemporary art and in strengthening ties with Latin American art.

This document sheds light on the circulation of the information used to select the French artists who would send works to the X São Paulo Biennale in 1969. It was selected because it bears witness to the reaction of foreign artists and labor groups against the censorship, repression and torture imposed by the different political dictatorships of some Latin American countries.

Cristina Rossi
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Archivo Julio Le Parc, París, Francia.