I recently visited Typoe’s installation at Casa Claridge’s and felt as though I had been transported back in time, beyond my birth and to another South American capital: Buenos Aires, 1965. Given the nature of Getting Up it’s no wonder so many visitors were open to time travel. And given the Faena Group’s roots it’s no wonder I chose to travel to Argentina.
Argentina’s capital has long been a hotbed for experimental artistic activity. In 1963 Marta Minujín—the celebrated multimedia artist—returned to her native city after setting her artwork on fire in Paris; this radical gesture was a way to mark the end of her time in France and allowed her to return to Argentina on a wave of hype generated by the spectacle. Once in Buenos Aires Minujín got together with Rubén Santantonín to create one of the greatest spectacles Argentina’s art world had seen up until then: La Menesunda (1965). The title is Argentine slang and alludes to chaos. It was meant to conjure the speed and thrill of urban life in Buenos Aires. This project was a happening stretched out over various locations in the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, a space for groundbreaking art.
Visitors snaking through each “situation” encountered a couple in bed, a tunnel of neon light, a woman offering to apply makeup, etc. La Menesunda made people feel alive, and in turn it brought a new energy to this part of town.
It also made Minujín an “it” girl, worthy of representing Latin America in an iconic performance with Andy Warhol in 1985; of course, this was at the expense of dimming Santantonín’s star.
If you’ve never seen Minujín on film, you must immediately set aside an hour and get lost in a YouTube search. Here she is a few years later (presumably) again in the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella for the Festival del Humo.
La Menesunda played a key role in transforming the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella into a notorious art space in the 1960s. Unfortunately the Instituto is no longer there: when yours truly visited Calle La Florida a few years ago there was a leather store in place. Nevertheless, with resources like the ICAA, and texts like “Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics: Argentine Art in the Sixties” and “Listen, Here, Now!“, art historians have an endless amount of topics from this era in Buenos Aires from which to develop new projects.