This document posits that the widespread discussion on art and its political function, a discussion that artists regularly engage in, can be exhibited, debated, and critically analyzed in the context of an art show. Eduardo Serrano (b. 1939), the curator of this exhibition, points out how difficult it is to include the wide range of approaches to politics that artists, both past and present, have embraced. For that reason, he decided to include only graphic works by contemporary artists “committed” to the social function of art. One odd piece of information appears at the end of the catalogue: the artists in Taller 4 Rojo —Nirma Zárate (1936–1999), Diego Arango (b. 1942) and Carlos Granada Arango (b. 1933), Jorge Mora, along with Italian Umberto Giangrandi (b. 1942)—stated that they were displeased that their work had been included in what they considered an incoherent exhibition.
The exhibition Arte y Política was held from October 22 to November 22, 1974 at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá. It was organized jointly by the museum curator Eduardo Serrano, literary and art critic Darío Ruiz Gómez (b. 1936), and painter Amalia Iriarte (b. 1942). The catalogue, which was printed on newspaper-quality paper and featured red headlines, was striking; it resembled a leftist newspaper of the time. Ruiz Gómez and Serrano were in charge of presenting the exhibition.
Nineteen seventy-four was a politically decisive year since it marked the end of the last four-year term of the National Front coalition. On January 17 of that year, after a promotional campaign in various newspapers with nationwide circulation, the urban guerrilla group M-19 stole Bolívar’s sword from the Museo de la Quinta de Bolívar in Bogotá. Just days later, the first issue of the Revista Alternativa. Atreverse a pensar es empezar a luchar—a journal of counter-information that brought together a number of leftist tendencies—was published. During the magazine’s first year, the aforementioned Taller 4 Rojo collective was in charge of the magazine’s art. Founded in 1971, the aim of that collective—like many artists, printmakers, intellectuals, and leaders of social movements—was to broaden the spectrum of socially committed art.