Mexico City

Participants in the second Salón Independiente on the esplanade of the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, Summer 1969. Photo: Salón Independiente, Centro de Documentación Arkheia.

“Un arte sin tutela: Salón Independiente en México, 1968–1971”

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo (MUAC)

Participants in the second Salón Independiente on the esplanade of the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, Summer 1969. Photo: Salón Independiente, Centro de Documentación Arkheia.

A PUBLICITY PHOTOGRAPH from the second Salón Independiente depicts nearly half of the exhibition’s artists, most standing against a wall, their hands up, and a few others sprawled on the ground. The massacre of approximately 325 student protesters in Tlatelolco’s Plaza de las Tres Culturas one year prior, on October 2, 1968, was an unmistakable reference. The first Salón Independiente opened just two weeks after Tlatelolco; it had been organized between July and October of that year, during the student protests and their ensuing repression by the government of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz. The Salón’s legacy of experimentation and of autonomy from institutions is tied up in its proximity to the turbulent politics of the era, even if the art on view was rarely denunciatory of the regime. Curator Pilar Garcia demonstrated this tension by giving the group portrait pride of place in “Un arte

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