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.
The Peruvian art historian Carlos Rodríguez Saavedra defines genuine creation as an expression of truth that admits no alternatives, then goes on to state that the finest Latin American artists blend two opposites—“indigenous” and “universal”—to create their works of art. The history of Latin American art can therefore be understood in terms of a response to those polarities, expressed as a swinging door that alternates between being open or closed to the world, depending on prevailing needs for affirmation and renewal. The writer of this essay concludes that Latin America consists of a mestizo culture that is the result of its complex history, and the critic must therefore strive to determine whether or not its works of art have “authenticity.”
In terms of the historical discussion on the nature of Latin American art, this lecture by the Peruvian art historian Carlos Rodríguez Saavedra represents a compromise. That is, he attempts to navigate a middle ground between the tensions and confrontations generated by conflicting aspirations to impose a local or a universal perspective on Latin American art. The First Iberian-American Gathering of Art Critics and Visual Artists was held in 1978 at the Museo de Bellas Artes [Museum of Fine Arts] in Caracas. In addition to Julio Le Parc, the list of attendees included the following art critics, professors, and artists: Jorge Alberto Manrique, Jorge Glusberg, Juan Acha, Adelaida de Juan, Carlos Rodríguez Saavedra, Jacqueline Barnitz, Berta Taracena, Antonio Berni, Galaor Carbonell, Marco Miliani, Alirio Rodríguez, Roberto Montero Castro, Élida Román, Ida Rodríguez [Prampolini], Carlos Arean, Marta Traba, Roberto Pontual, and Aracy A. Amaral. An important forerunner to this event was the “Austin Symposium” organized by University of Texas in late October 1975, which was attended by many of those who were later at the 1978 gathering. By then, the book concerning the earlier event had already been published in Venezuela: El artista latinoamericano y su identidad [The Latin American Artist and His Identity] by Damian C. Bayón (edit.) (Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores (Colección Estudios), 1977) 150pp, illustrated in black and white.