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Primary Document: Testimonios de Latinoamérica

Published two years before the Poema Colectivo Revolución, these texts give an impression of the landscape of the Mexican cultural scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They appeared in the cultural supplement Testimonios de Latinoamérica, which accompanied the eponymous exhibition at the Carrillo Gil Museum in Mexico City from September 19, 1978.

Five years earlier, in 1973, a call for contributions to a Latin American edition of the magazine Schmuck was distributed by the UK-based independent Beau Geste Press, which was headed up by David Mayor, Felipe Ehrenberg, and Marta Hellion. The invitation stated: “Our basic politics is not to make even one concession to the speculative pressures that exalt the ego and deform thought and creativity. We hope to serve as a point of information between Latin America and Europe.” By early 1974, a wealth of contributions had been delivered to its headquarters in Southwest England. That same spring, however, Felipe Ehrenberg moved back to Mexico, taking this material with him with the intention of publishing a Latin American issue under the splintered imprint of Beau Geste Press/Libro Acción Libre.

In 1978, Ehrenberg returned to the abandoned material: “Thanks in part to a Guggenheim award, it finally became possible to convert the Latin American material I had filed away into an impressive show . . . at the Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico City.” The National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA) printed 260,000 copies of a two-part cultural supplement, finally publishing the material originally intended for Schmuck. Testimonios de Latinoamérica boasted contributions from some of the region’s most celebrated artists and writers, including Antonio Caro, Cildo Meireles, Clemente Padín, Victor Muñoz, Tunga, Regina Silveira, Harry Gamboa, and Horacio Zabala.

The first installment of Testimonios was released on September 20, 1978, and featured the work of seventeen artists from the region accompanied by articles by critic Néstor García Canclini and by Ehrenberg himself, who weigh up conceptualism’s expediency for the specific conditions of the Latin American context.

Author

Felipeehrenberg by dar%c3%ado l%c3%b3pez mills

Felipe Ehrenberg

Artist Felipe Ehrenberg (b. Mexico City, June 27, 1943) is a Mexican painter, printmaker, performance artist, writer, teacher, and publisher. He qualified as a printmaker at a... Read more »
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Néstor García Canclini

Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de México Néstor García Canclini is Distinguished Professor at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de México and Emeritus Professor of the National Scheme for Mexican... Read more »
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Primary Document: Testimonios de Latinoamérica

Published two years before the Poema Colectivo Revolución, these texts give an impression of the landscape of the Mexican cultural scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They appeared in the cultural supplement Testimonios de Latinoamérica, which accompanied the eponymous exhibition at the Carrillo Gil Museum in Mexico City from September 19, 1978.

Five years earlier, in 1973, a call for contributions to a Latin American edition of the magazine Schmuck was distributed by the UK-based independent Beau Geste Press, which was headed up by David Mayor, Felipe Ehrenberg, and Marta Hellion. The invitation stated: “Our basic politics is not to make even one concession to the speculative pressures that exalt the ego and deform thought and creativity. We hope to serve as a point of information between Latin America and Europe.” By early 1974, a wealth of contributions had been delivered to its headquarters in Southwest England. That same spring, however, Felipe Ehrenberg moved back to Mexico, taking this material with him with the intention of publishing a Latin American issue under the...

Show More

Published two years before the Poema Colectivo Revolución, these texts give an impression of the landscape of the Mexican cultural scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They appeared in the cultural supplement Testimonios de Latinoamérica, which accompanied the eponymous exhibition at the Carrillo Gil Museum in Mexico City from September 19, 1978.

Five years earlier, in 1973, a call for contributions to a Latin American edition of the magazine Schmuck was distributed by the UK-based independent Beau Geste Press, which was headed up by David Mayor, Felipe Ehrenberg, and Marta Hellion. The invitation stated: “Our basic politics is not to make even one concession to the speculative pressures that exalt the ego and deform thought and creativity. We hope to serve as a point of information between Latin America and Europe.” By early 1974, a wealth of contributions had been delivered to its headquarters in Southwest England. That same spring, however, Felipe Ehrenberg moved back to Mexico, taking this material with him with the intention of publishing a Latin American issue under the splintered imprint of Beau Geste Press/Libro Acción Libre.

In 1978, Ehrenberg returned to the abandoned material: “Thanks in part to a Guggenheim award, it finally became possible to convert the Latin American material I had filed away into an impressive show . . . at the Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico City.” The National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA) printed 260,000 copies of a two-part cultural supplement, finally publishing the material originally intended for Schmuck. Testimonios de Latinoamérica boasted contributions from some of the region’s most celebrated artists and writers, including Antonio Caro, Cildo Meireles, Clemente Padín, Victor Muñoz, Tunga, Regina Silveira, Harry Gamboa, and Horacio Zabala.

The first installment of Testimonios was released on September 20, 1978, and featured the work of seventeen artists from the region accompanied by articles by critic Néstor García Canclini and by Ehrenberg himself, who weigh up conceptualism’s expediency for the specific conditions of the Latin American context.

Source contents

Testimonios de Latinoamérica

This exhibition includes alternative, visual communications produced by artists of Latin America and is presented at the Alvar y Carmen T. de Carrillo Gil Museum (INBA) in México City from September 19, 1978.

In 1973, the Beau Geste Press/Libro Acción Libre (Free Action Book), founded by the undersigned during his stay in Great Britain, launched a call to all Latin American artists, inviting...

Read more »

Testimonios de Latinoamérica

Este muestra, que incluye comunicados visuales alternativos producidos por artistas de América Latina, se presenta en el Museo Alvar y Carmen T. Carrillo Gil (INBA) en la Ciudad de México, desde el día 19 de septiembre de 1978.

En 1973, la Editorial Beau Geste Pres/Libro Acción Libre, fundada por quien esto escribe durante su estancia en la Gran Bretaña, lanzó una convocatoria a los creadores...

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Art That's Not for Sale

1.

It is all the time harder to go to simply see an exhibition. One enters a museum or gallery and soon, one has to ask oneself if what is being shown is art, why so many innovations, what is art? Is it possible to call people "artists" if they don’t use oils or pencil, or make prints or sculptures? To what do we owe the fact that objects have been replaced by signs, and works by performances....

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Un Arte Que No Se Vende

1.

Cada vez es más difícil ir simplemente a ver una exposición. Uno entra a un museo o una galería y en seguida tiene que preguntarse si lo que se muestra puede considerarse artístico. ¿Por qué tantas innovaciones? ¿Qué es el arte? ¿Es posible llamar artistas a quienes no usan el óleo, ni el lápiz, ni hacen grabado o escultura? ¿A qué se debe que los objetos sean reemplazados por signos y las...

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Primary Document: Testimonios de Latinoamérica

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The Pop Ingredient

Posted on 3 Feb

This article is an indispensable primary source, inasmuch as it confronts the issue of categorizing art practices in Latin America. Hindsight, allows us to problematize certain approximations, inherent in these categorizations. Canclini provides a binary definition of Media Art and Conceptual Art, as the two predominant tendencies in ‘current practices’. Whether these terminologies were pertinent to a Latin American context remains to be determined. Yet it is clear that the most problematic aspect of the article remains in the scattered definition of ‘Pop Art’ – understood as an ingredient in the wider ‘recipe’ for making alternative and popular art.

The title Art That’s Not for Sale marks the disconnection between current practices and the art market. This separation is interpreted as a deliberate attempt to bridge the gap between the elites (in control of the market) and mass audiences. Canclini continues by arguing that Pop transformed the symbols of mass culture into elite divertissements, thus justifying the radicalization of art that led to Media and Conceptual practices.

The divorce between Pop and the art market scores a significant difference with North America where Pop was a financial success. Yet Canclini’s claim that the bourgeoisie trivialized its icons - ‘expropriating’ their subversive power - partially negates the previous point: that art was not for sale. At this stage, it is worth questioning to what extent Pop was instrumental in the radicalization of art practices since the late sixties, and whether it was, if ever, exploited by the bourgeoisie?

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This article is an indispensable primary source, inasmuch as it confronts the issue of categorizing art practices in Latin America. Hindsight, allows us to problematize certain approximations, inherent in these categorizations. Canclini provides a...

Show more »