October 9, 2018 - Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo - Art without Guardinaship: The Salón Independiente in Mexico, 1968-1971
October 9, 2018

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo

Arnaldo Coen and Myra Landau. Published in Salón Independiente 70, 1970. Fondo Brian Nissen/Salón Independiente, Centro de Documentación Arkheia, MUAC, UNAM. 

Art without Guardinaship: The Salón Independiente in Mexico, 1968-1971
October 20, 2018–April 7, 2019

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo
Centro Cultural Universitario
Insurgentes Sur 3000
04510 Mexico City, Delegación Coyoacán
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Thursday and Saturday 10am–8pm

T +52 55 5622 6939

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One of the most important initiatives that ultimately transformed artistic practice in Mexico was the Salón Independiente. This event yielded the possibility of group organization that would both generate collective, experimental projects and strengthen resistance against the established order.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 student movement, we present Un arte sin tutela: Salón Independiente en México 1968-1971 (Art without Guardinaship: The Salón Independiente in Mexico, 1968-1971), curated by Pilar García. Drawn from research into various archives, it seeks to present a historiographical account that documents and reconstructs the three exhibitions organized by the Salón Independiente between 1968 and 1971, as a key moment of artistic transformation in Mexico. The Salón Independiente united artists with both aesthetically and politically heterogeneous positions under an overarching proposal that, in distancing themselves from institutions and the commercial gallery circuit, connected new artistic vocabularies, explored non-traditional platforms, and offered new alternatives to the consumption of art. Its members’ interest in erasing disciplinary boundaries, as well as in bringing art into other spaces, allowed them to experiment with under-examined spheres like fashion and film.

The urge to create ephemeral, collaborative art ultimately influenced Mexico’s artistic history as an instigator of dialogues with earlier experiences, and as a group that, even in its brief lifespan, successfully generated aesthetic and political radicalism amid social transformation. The key actors on this changing stage included Gilberto Aceves Navarro, Rafael Canogar, Lilia Carrillo, Arnaldo Coen, José Luis Cuevas, Felipe Ehrenberg, Helen Escobedo, Manuel Felguérez, Fernando García Ponce, Alberto Gironella, Alan Glass, Hersúa, Francisco Icaza, Myra Landau, Brian Nissen, Marta Palau, Tomás Parra, Ricardo Regazzoni, Ricardo Rocha, Vicente Rojo, Kazuya Sakai, Antonio Segui, Fernando de Szyslo, Yutaka Toyota, and Roger von Gunten.

The first Salón Independiente opened its doors in the Centro Cultural Isidro Fabela in October 1968, in response to the discord produced by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes’s call for submissions to the Exposición Solar. This exhibition was organized as part of the cultural activities associated with the XIX Olympics and within the context of repression afflicting the student movement. In 1969 and 1970, the second and third gatherings of the Salón Independiente were held in the UNAM’s Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte (MUCA); from that moment on, its political dissidence was formalized. In 1970, for budgetary reasons, the third Salón used paper and cardboard as its working materials, and the works of art—fleeting and experimental in nature—were produced in situ. This final exhibition was presented in the cities of Toluca and Guadalajara. 

The exhibition catalogue is the result of the collaboration between the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (IIE) and the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC). Published by RM and the UNAM, it seeks to serve as a reference point for the study of contemporary Mexican art. It includes essays by Esther Gabara, Claudia Garay Molina, Pilar García, Renato González Mello, Tom McDonough, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Israel Rodríguez, and Álvaro Vázquez Mantecón, as well as a detailed visual compendium.

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo
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