Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Antonio Caro guerrillero visual = visual guerrilla / Luis Camnitzer

    Revista Poliéster (Michoacán, México). -- Vol. 4, no. 12 (verano / summer 1995)

    p. 40 - 45 : ill.
    Journal article – Essays
    Camnitzer, Luis. "Antonio Caro Guerrillero visual." Revista Poliester (Michoacan) 12 (1995): 40-45.

Artist and critic Luis Camnitzer analyzes the production of Antonio Caro on the basis of several works Caro produced between 1975 and 1995, specifically: El carrito de Marlboro [The Marlboro Cart], Colombia Cocacola [Coca-Cola],  Todo está muy Caro [Everything is So Caro (caro = expensive)], Firma de Quintín Lame [Quintín Lame’s Signature], Serie del Maíz [The Corn Series], and Indicios [Signs]. After discussing the sources that gave rise to these works and their message, Camnitzer concludes that Caro is a visual guerrilla fighter, and the most subversive Conceptual artist active on the Latin American scene.


This text has been published on two occasions: first in the catalogue, Exposición Ante América, which was for an exhibition held in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the new continent, and in Revista Poliéster (no. 12, 1995). In both versions of the text, the Uruguayan art critic, graphic, and Conceptual artist, Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937, Germany), bases his analysis on the same work, in the second version, which is more radical, he comments on meeting Colombian artist Antonio Caro (b. 1950). Camnitzer goes so far as to consider Caro himself as one of his works of art; he deems the most important of his works is a series whose point of departure is the Firma de Manuel Quintín Lame

Caro, along with Cildo Meireles (b. 1948), Bernardo Salcedo (1939–2007), and Camnitzer himself, is a crucial Latin American Conceptual artist. All of these artists are concerned with having their ideological views come through in their work. In their art, they voice protest against inequality, governmental inefficiency in their countries, and the abuses of mostly North American imperialism. By considering Caro a visual guerrilla fighter and inviting Latin American artists to follow his example, Camnitzer considers Caro’s work, and the way it operates as an alternative to political protest, as one that does not embrace violence but instead exploits its own poetic potential to level open criticism in an indirect fashion.

The work to which Camnitzer refers, Firma de Manuel Quintín Lame, was made using a number of different techniques: it was presented as an environment (1978), a silkscreen (1979), a mural (1980), and printed with annatto ink on paper at the aforementioned 1992 exhibition. Caro is one of the first Colombian Conceptual artists whose work makes wide use of advertising. His often roughly-made art is infused with humor and references to political, social, and historical issues that in some cases relate to debates on identity.


María Clara Cortés
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Luis Camnitzer, Great Neck, NY