This text appeared in Projeto Construtivo Brasileiro na Arte, the catalogue for the exhibition organized in São Paulo by Aracy Amaral (b. 1930) and Lygia Pape (1927–2004). The event was hugely influential in Brazil, prompting an innovative reading of the meaning of the rationalist movements in Brazilian art. The exhibition was presented in 1977 at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and, later on, at the MAM-RJ (Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro). [For further information on this exhibition, see the following in the ICAA Digital Archive: “Projeto construtivo brasileiro na arte,” by Lygia Pape (1110680), and “Arte Concreta,” by Ferreira Gullar (1315020)].
The Argentinean art critic Jorge Romero Brest (1905–1989) published his first book, El problema del arte y del artista contemporáneo, in 1937 and began to make a name for himself as an art critic and lecturer in 1943. In 1947 he launched the art magazine Ver y estimar with the help of his art history students (including Damián Bayón) after being dismissed from his university position by the first Peronist government (1946–55). He continued teaching aesthetics and art history throughout his career, traveling frequently to attend seminars such as the one mentioned in this document. In 1955, immediately after the overthrow of President Juan Domingo Perón, he was appointed director of the MNBA (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes), a position he held until 1963, when he resigned in order to head up the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato di Tella, which became the pivotal venue for Pop Art, experimental theater, and conceptual art in Argentina. Romero Brest’s activities at the MNBA and the Centro del ITdT have been quite well documented, but this text sheds light on the very early stages of his career as a “distinguished critic” when he was widely regarded as a great champion of modernism.
[For more information on some of Romero Brest’s writings, see the following in the ICAA Digital Archive: “Diálogo sobre el arte abstracto y el arte concreto” (824437); “Punto de partida” (787253); “Punto de vista crítico” (742528); “[Por tercera vez se organiza el ‘Premio Ver y estimar’]” (753937); “[De todos los premios afortunadamente se multiplica fomentando (...)]” (753920); “Sociología y ontología a propósito del arte nuevo, 1966” (761944); and “La problemática del arte latinoamericano” (805676), among many others.]