Art Without Guardianship: Salón Independiente in Mexico 1968-1971 is the first reconstruction of the exhibitions organized by the Salón Independiente (SI) from 1968 to 1971—one of the key breaking points between the avant-garde and the Mexican cultural establishment. By studying the birth of the SI, this exhibition also reviews the art scene during the momentous year when the Olympic Games, the student movement and State violence came to a head.
Its emergence at a critical moment brought together wildly heterogeneous aesthetic and political views. At first, the SI’s most important cause was complete individual creative freedom, but the group would later adopt views favorable to collaboration, experimentation with unusual materials, and the creation of “environments” and ephemeral works. For their third exhibition in 1970, which had a very restricted budget, the artists worked entirely in cardboard and newsprint. The SI was also a stage for the generational clash between individual workshop art and the collective, politicized art production that would define the 1970s in Mexico.
With this act of looking back to the SI and its affairs, an open chapter in art history is brought to a close as we are left to ponder new questions on the potential of autonomy and its diversity of possible manifestations.