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This brief but thorough review by the Argentine critic Damián Bayón explores the development of Argentine art from the eighteenth century to the present day. He mentions artists, architects, and sculptors who have helped to define the concept of Argentine art. In the early twentieth century several artists returned to the River Plate region after studying abroad. Many of the artists who referred to themselves as avant-garde were rejected and attacked. Bayón discusses some of the movements that emerged between the 1940s and the 1960s: Concrete art, the Agrupación Arte-Concreto-Invención [Concrete Art and Invention Association] and their magazine, Arturo, the Madí movement, the Kinetic artists, and Otra Figuración. He also stresses the importance of the Instituto Di Tella under the direction of the art critic Jorge Romero Brest. Bayón mentions the major artists in each movement, such as Tomás Maldonado and Alfredo Hlito (Concrete movement), Carmelo Arden Quin and Gyula Kosice (the Madí group) and Julio Le Parc, Francisco Sobrino, and Hugo Demarco (GRAV, research on kinetics).


Damián Carlos Bayón (1915–1995) was a visiting professor of art history at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras campus from 1953 to 1958. In January 1954 he delivered two lectures, “Arquitectura y Paisaje en Europa: Francia, España, Italia” [Architecture and Landscape in Europe: France, Spain, and Italy] and “La concepción del espacio en la pintura antigua y moderna” [The Conception of Space in Ancient and Modern Painting]. From June 1955 through January 1956, he traveled in Europe, gathering material for his classes while on paid leave from the University of Puerto Rico. He would then draw on that material to write on the visual arts. His contract was cancelled, effective August 18, 1958. (Inactive dossier, First batch, Box B-41, Central Archive, University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras campus).


Plástica magazine, where this review was published, was an art publication that appeared fairly regularly in Puerto Rico. It began modestly enough in 1968, as the newsletter of the Liga de arte de San Juan [San Juan Art League], but changed its name in 1978 to Plástica revista de la Liga de estudiantes de San Juan [San Juan Student League Visual Arts Magazine]. Its very specific title notwithstanding, the twenty-one issues of the magazine explored a wide range of subjects within the broad parameters of Puerto Rican and Latin American art, filling its pages with retrospective coverage of subjects, such as the V Bienal de San Juan del grabado latinoamericano y del Caribe [5th San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Prints] (1981), Puerto Rican architecture, and Latin American visual arts. The first editorial board of the magazine included Hélène Saldaña, Delta Picó, Cordelia Buitrago, and J.M. García Segovia. In addition to the many essays written by top Puerto Rican thinkers, the magazine published contributions from some of the leading Latin American artists and critics, such as Luis Camnitzer, Damián Bayón, Jacqueline Barnitz, Samuel Cherson, Joseph Alsop, Omar Rayo, and Ricardo Pau Llosa, among many others.


Flavia Marichal
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of Centro Damián Carlos Bayón del Instituto de América de Santa Fé, Granada, España
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras