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Finding aid for the Bienal Americana de Arte records, 1961-1969, 1977
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bienal Americana de Arte records
    Date (inclusive): 1961-1969, 1977
    Number: 970074
    Creator/Collector: Bienal Americana de Arte
    Physical Description: 20.61 linear feet (26 boxes, 9 flatfile folders, 1 roll)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The Bienal Americana de Arte records document the series of art salons and biennials sponsored by Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA). The biennials were important events for exhibiting contemporary art in Latin America in the 1960s. Although regional in focus, they attracted significant international attention. An experimental music section in 1966 featured John Cage among several Latin American composers. The archive documents the planning, realization, and reception of the biennials, as well as two contemporary Latin American art salons.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in Spanish; Castilian with some English.

    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.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers, except for unreformatted audio visual materials.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Bienal Americana de Arte records, 1961-1969, 1977, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 970074.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1997.

    Processing History

    In 2010 and 2011, Alexis Adkins processed the collection and wrote the finding aid under the supervision of Andra Darlington.

    Separated Materials

    Six monographs and eight serials were transferred to the library. These publications may be found by searching the Library Catalog  for the provenance, Bienal Americana de Arte Collection.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Bienal Americana de Arte records provide partial documentation of the planning, realization, and reception of Salons IV and V and Bienales I, II, and III. The Salons are grouped into one series, each Bienal into its own series, and there is a separate series for the Experimental Music section.
    All of the series include administrative papers and ephemera. The third and fourth series have more extensive and varied records -- including correspondence, photographs, and slides -- which reflect the growing scope and impact of the second and third biennials. The series for the Experimental Music section includes correspondence with and a score by John Cage, and audio recordings of works by the following composers: Earle Brown, Alcides Lanza, Nelly Moretto, and Jorge de la Vega in addition to two compilations.


    Arranged in five series:
    Series I. Salons, 1961-1967; Series II. I Bienal Americana de Arte, 1961-1963; Series III. II Bienal Americana de Arte, 1963-1967; Series IV. III Bienal Americana de Arte, 1961-1969, 1977; Series V. Experimental Music, 1962-1969, 1977.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Latin America--20th century
    Avant-garde (Music)

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Black-and-white photographs--Latin America--20th century
    Color slides--Latin America--20th century
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original
    Sound recordings


    Apollonio, Umbro, 1911-
    Barr, Alfred Hamilton, 1902-1981
    Bode, Arnold, 1900-1977
    Brown, Earle, 1926-2002
    Cage, John
    Hunter, Sam, 1923-
    Industrias Kaiser Argentina
    Lanza, Alcides
    Moretto, Nelly, 1925-1978
    Pellegrini, Aldo
    Read, Herbert, 1893-1968
    Sorenson, Christian
    Sorenson, Magda
    Vega, Jorge de la, 1930-1971
    Villanueva, Carlos Raúl, 1900-1975