Abstract

This article examines the rise and reception of conceptual art in Argentina. Against dominant readings of the 1960s' and 70s' visual avant-gardes in Latin America, I reconsider the stakes of art's so-called “dematerialization” and its unique claim on ideology critique in the work of the Grupo Arte de los Medios [Media Art Group], a collective of young artists led by the philosopher and literary critic Oscar Masotta. Arguing for a re-historicization of the 1960s avant-garde as one that emerges as a self-reflexive reaction to the novel articulation of late capitalism in Argentina, I trace a critical continuity between the Grupo Arte de los Medios and the avant-gardist claims on the fusion of art and militant politics among its immediate successors. I suggest that the Argentinean avant-garde defined its radical political stance through a reflection on the immanent relation of structural cause to symbolic form, probing and pointing to the limits of the operation of estrangement.

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