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Bienal Americana de Arte records, 1961-1969, 1977

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Finding aid for the Bienal Americana de Arte records, 1961-1969, 1977

Biographical/Historical Note

The Bienales Americana de Arte were important events for exhibiting contemporary art in Latin America in the 1960s. Although regional in focus, the biennials attracted significant international and critical attention.

Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) began taking an interest in arts and cultural sponsorship in 1958, when it organized the first of five contemporary visual arts salons in Córdoba, Argentina. The salons were held until 1963 and featured Argentine artists working in a number of mediums. Inspired by the success of the salons, IKA organized the first Bienal Americana de Arte in 1962 and expanded its scope to include artists from the neighboring countries of Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, in addition to Argentina. The jury was composed of a representative from each of these four countries, a representative from the Organization of the American States (OAS), and headed by British critic Sir Herbert Read.

The second Bienal, in 1964, expanded further to include artists from ten Latin American countries. Umbro Apollonio, director of the Venice Bienale, presided over a jury comprised again of representatives from each participating country and an OAS representative. Selections from the second Bienal later toured North America.

The third and final Bienal took place in 1966. By this time, the event had grown to include artists from 13 Latin American countries in addition to an Experimental Music section featuring John Cage and Earle Brown along with other contemporary musicians and composers from all over the Americas. In a departure from previous years, the jury was restricted to a small pool of internationally known art experts: Alfred Barr Jr., (Director of MoMA, N.Y.), Arnold Bode (Director of Documenta of Kassel, West Germany), Sam Hunter (Director of the Jewish Museum, N.Y.), Carlos Raul Villanueva (an internationally known Venezuelan architect), and Aldo Pellegrini (a highly respected Argentine writer and art critic). Christian Sorenson directed all three biennials and his wife, Magda, coordinated the Experimental Music section.

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