Del Di Tella a “Tucumán Arde”: Vanguardia artística y política en el 68 argentino, by Ana Longoni and Mariano Mestman

1681796Title translation (approx.): From Di Tella to “Tucumán is Burning”: Artistic and political avant-garde in Argentina’s 68

As I’m working on my graduation project, to hopefully end with this torture (of knowing that I have to finish it and, yet, avoid it forever) once and for all, I had to read this book, which basically is 50% of what I chose to work on.

This book follows the works of group of avant-garde artists from the cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario, their relations with the art field and its institutions, how the tumultuous national and international context affected their works and a prosecution of actions that had them as protagonists during the year 1968, which concluded after a collective work, Tucumán arde, with all of them quitting their artistic careers, some for several years, some for good. The book does also an understanding of how this last work was interpreted by the art historiography as the time went by and it includes an annex with interviews with the protagonists.

While reading it one gets too caught up in the succession of events that they somehow seem to be way more relevant that they actually were. These artists were submerged in a context were revolution seemed imminent at the turn of the corner and wanted to be an active part of it. They wanted Tucumán arde to be a wake up call for the people, to make them realize the perverse politics of Ongania’s dictatorship. Needless to say, the impact they made was far from being massive, which is disheartening if one ever believed that art could change things.