Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics

Argentine Art in the Sixties

Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics

Latin America Otherwise

More about this series

Book Pages: 432 Illustrations: 63 illustrations (22 color/16 pg insert, 41 b&w) Published: July 2007

Author: Andrea Giunta

Translator: Peter Kahn

Art and Visual Culture, Cultural Studies, Latin American Studies > Southern Cone

The 1960s were heady years in Argentina. Visual artists, curators, and critics sought to fuse art and politics; to broaden the definition of art to encompass happenings and assemblages; and, above all, to achieve international recognition for new, cutting-edge Argentine art. A bestseller in Argentina, Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics is an examination of the 1960s as a brief historical moment when artists, institutions, and critics joined to promote an international identity for Argentina’s visual arts.

The renowned Argentine art historian and critic Andrea Giunta analyzes projects specifically designed to internationalize Argentina’s art and avant-garde during the 1960s: the importation of exhibitions of contemporary international art, the sending of Argentine artists abroad to study, the organization of prize competitions involving prestigious international art critics, and the export of exhibitions of Argentine art to Europe and the United States. She looks at the conditions that made these projects possible—not least the Alliance for Progress, a U.S. program of “exchange” and “cooperation” meant to prevent the spread of communism through Latin America in the wake of the Cuban Revolution—as well as the strategies formulated to promote them. She describes the influence of Romero Brest, prominent art critic, supporter of abstract art, and director of the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Tocuato Di Tella (an experimental art center in Buenos Aires); various group programs such as Nueva Figuración and Arte Destructivo; and individual artists including Antonio Berni, Alberto Greco, León Ferrari, Marta Minujin, and Luis Felipe Noé. Giunta’s rich narrative illuminates the contentious postwar relationships between art and politics, Latin America and the United States, and local identity and global recognition.


“Duke University Press has performed an important service to the readers of Latin American art history and to historians in general by publishing a translation.” — Donna J. Guy, American Historical Review

“Giunta carefully defines the polemics in transforming Buenos Aires into an internationally recognized center for artistic production and avant-garde culture. . . . Recommended.” — L. E. Carranza, Choice

“Giunta has done an admirable job of organizing information from myriad sources. Her close focus on the art world reflects the paradox of Argentine identity: are Argentinians Europeans stranded in the New World or creators of a new nation? They can’t decide, and neither can the country’s artists.” — Alfred Mac Adam, ARTnews

“Meticulously researched and engagingly written. . . .” — Robin Adèle Greeley, Oxford Art Journal

“Well written and thoroughly documented, this book is an invaluable tool for those interested in the evolution of contemporary art in Latin America (engulfed as it was in the love triangle Buenos Aires-Paris-New York). The choice of artists and images is superb. . . . Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics is not just a book about history, it offers a fascinating explanation of the current state of Argentine and Latin American art in the era of globalization.” — Georgina Jiménez, Latin American Review of Books

Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics is a precise and intelligent book. It is also profoundly original in its reconstruction of the public debate of the 1960s. Andrea Guinta has investigated the links between the artists and the revolutionary horizon, as well as those between the artists and establishment institutions. With this dual perspective, she follows in a fascinating way the processes of the internationalization of Latin American art. Her book is indispensable to understanding the political and aesthetic ideologies of the period.” — Beatriz Sarlo, author of Jorge Luis Borges: A Writer on the Edge

“Andrea Giunta is one of the sharpest minds working in the post–World War II cultural field anywhere, and Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics is a work of amazing breadth, originality, and complexity. It touches on many facets of U.S. cultural life as well as on the many ways a Latin American country tried to find a suitable postwar identity in a ruthless historical moment. With this book, Giunta is redefining the parameters not only of art history in Argentina but of contemporary cultural discourses in general.” — Serge Guilbaut, author of How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom, and the Cold War

“How can artists and institutions from peripheral countries participate in global conversations?Mexican muralists, Brazilian avant-gardists, and the São Paulo Biennale have done it. Yet none have done so with as sophisticated a strategy as those who remade the visual and multimedia arts scene in 1960s Buenos Aires. Offering the most thoroughly documented and innovative analysis of that period, Andrea Giunta eloquently renews Latin American art criticism.” — Néstor García Canclini


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Andrea Giunta is a professor of art history at the Universidad de San Martín and an associate professor art history at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. She is the author of Goeritz/Romero Brest: Correspondencias and the recipient of fellowships from the Rockefeller, Getty, and Guggenheim foundations.
Peter Kahn is a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic American Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations ix

About the Series xi

Preface and Acknowledgments xiii

Translator’s Note xvii

Abbreviations xix

Introduction 1

1. Modern Art on the Margins of Peronism 25

2. Proclamations and Programs During the Revolucion Libertadora 55

3. The “New” Art Scene 91

4. The Avant-Garde as Problem 119

5. The Decentering of the Modernist Paradigm 163

6. Strategies of Internationalization 189

7. The Avant-Garde Between Art and Politics 243

Conclusions 281

Notes 291

Bibliography 373

Index 397
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3893-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3877-2
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