The period from the 1960s to the 1980s, the years that the new rooms in the Collection explore, is when the political, social, cultural and technological changes that would give shape to the contemporary global situation took place: decolonization, the uprisings of '68, feminist movements, the economic crisis, the expansion of popular culture and the emergence of other peripheral modernisms.
It was also the moment that the art system found its specific field to be overflowing, spilling directly into the arena of all these processes, at the risk of losing the specificity of its conventional media – painting and sculpture – and even of its aesthetic mission.
Under the notion of the death of the author, artists repudiated the paternity of the work they created, proclaiming it to be open to a diverse range of readings and experiences. New emphasis was also given to its processual, collective, performative and contingent nature. However, paradoxically, these artists would indefinitely put off the “death of art” which they understood to be a place for reflection and enunciation, although, as became apparent in the 1980s, it would also be taken as fetiche, merchandise and spectacle.
The itinerary, divided into the two floors of the Nouvel building, starts with the Battle of Algiers and the Cuban Revolution. It then moves into the field, in continual expansion, of practices that no longer travel all in the same direction but rather come from very different positions, such as Tropicalism, and even from totally antagonistic directions, as is the case of feminist art. In the second part of the itinerary, we find artistic practices that gaze inwards at themselves and their languages, in counterpoint to others that choose to protest and take action against the repressive context of the dictatorships in Latin America and Spain.
In this multiple narration, the voices of Spanish movements and artists such as Zaj, Nacho Criado, Luis Gordillo, and Grup de Treball can be heard clearly, within the great choir formed by the international scene. Of particular significance in the latter is the presence of works from the Latin American avant-garde, with authors such as Hélio Oiticica, Juan Carlos Romero or the collective CADA. Also worth noting is the protagonism of works by women artists, many of which were recently acquired by the Museum: Martha Rosler, Eugènia Balcells, Concha Jerez, Esther Ferrer and Liliana Porter, among others.
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