The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this document Antonio Berni writes about a trip to the Museo Reverón in Macuto (Venezuela), and describes the coastal environment and the objects within the house museum. He critiques the commentaries concerning both the painting and madness of the artist. He analyzes Armando Reverón’s objects from a conceptual standpoint, pointing out their value to Venezuelan art; in his judgment, these have not been properly considered abroad due to biases on the artist’s nationality. He concludes by comparing Reverón with international artists in order to underscore his nature as an arts harbinger.
One of the most outstanding creators of the 20th century Argentina is undoubtedly the Rosario born Antonio Berni (1905–81). He studied in Europe beginning in 1925, and while living in Paris he connected with the surrealist avant-garde as well as with communist ideology. Upon his return to Argentina, he exhibited surrealist works at the Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art] in 1932. The following year Berni joined the Equipo Polígrafo [Polygraphic Team] (organized by David Alfaro Siqueiros) that went on to create the mural Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Arts Exercise] at Don Torcuato, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. He developed his theory of Nuevo Realismo [New Realism], art with a political and social commitment, which was based on a transcendent realism. In 1944, Berni formed the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. During the 1950s, he created paintings of the peasantry, in particular those of the northern province of Santiago del Estero, which gave rise to his Juanito Laguna series of narrative collage paintings. In 1962, the artist won the Grand Prize for Engraving and Drawing at the Venice Biennale. The following year Berni began his Ramona Montiel series. During the 1960s and 1970s—at the same time that he was continuing [to produce] paintings, collages and engravings—he created objects, installations and happenings; he also explored different stylistic variations of realist figuration.This document stands out for Berni’s conceptual and descriptive analysis of Armando Reverón’s work (1889-1954). He serves as an example of an ideology in art criticism dominated by the system of international promotion of artists, both American and European. Berni states that Reverón’s objects are a principal part of his work—along with his painting—so that he may identify a prior model that is at the same time eccentric. Berni’s interest in the creation of the objects, as well as his non-conventional nature is, no doubt, a personal substratum in his defense of Reverón.